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Kurtley Beale selected as Wallabies' five-eighth for Bledisloe Cup


Georgina Robinson

Back at No.10 ...Kurtley Beale

Back at No.10 ...Kurtley Beale

Kurtley Beale will wear the Wallabies No.10 jersey for the first time since 2012 in an overhauled Australian back line to play the All Blacks on Saturday.

In a stunning move, Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has backed the 42-Test playmaker, whom he first selected at five-eighth as a teenager in the Waratahs, to lead Australia around the park at ANZ Stadium in the opening Test of the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series. 

In-form Test incumbent Bernard Foley will move to the bench, an unlucky casualty of his NSW teammate's outstanding form in Super Rugby and off the bench for the Wallabies this year.

In three more shock changes to the back line, Adam Ashley-Cooper moves in from the wing to his preferred position at outside centre, and Rob Horne and Pat McCabe will start on the wings.

Incumbent No.13 Tevita Kuridrani moves to the bench, alongside Foley and NSW halfback Nick Phipps.

Brumbies No.9 Nic White, inside centre Matt Toomua and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau are the only surviving members of the Wallabies back line that beat France in their three-Test series clean sweep in June. 

In the pack, Western Force hooker Nathan Charles will make his maiden Test start at hooker, and Brumbies second row Sam Carter starts alongside line out general Rob Simmons in his return from an ankle injury he suffered in his Test debut against France in June. 

Former Test captain James Horwill did not make the squad of 24, from which one player will be ommitted on Friday. 

McKenzie said Foley had "not put a foot wrong". 

“There were a number of extremely tough selection decisions, especially after the way the team performed against France, however we’re confident we’ve come up with the best squad possible to win on Saturday night," he said.

"In the end, we’ve got a very similar group of players to those who got the job done against France, we’ve just modified some roles slightly to suit how we want to play the game.

"Bernard hasn’t put a foot wrong since we chose him in June, but Kurtley has really stepped up his game over the past few months and he’s consistently been one of the Waratahs best players every week."

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Pat McCabe, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne, Kurtley Beale, Nic White, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Sam Carter, Sekope Kepu, Nathan Charles, James Slipper. Replacements (one to be omitted): James Hanson, Pek Cowan, Ben Alexander, Will Skelton, Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani. 

100 comments so far

  • Only one specialist open side in the team. Made that mistake before.... 2011 World Cup?!

    Lee Dogg
    Date and time
    August 12, 2014, 12:07PM
    • The 2011 mistake wasn't missing another specialist openside in the team, it was missing another in the entire squad.

      In the unlikely scenario that Hooper were to be injured, Hodgson is in the greater squad and would slot into the starting team the following week.

      Date and time
      August 12, 2014, 1:47PM
    • OK , KB is a run on starter...but if he doesn't perform or misses another goal kick or tackle bench him real quick.
      Against the AB's maybe all the edge they need?

      selector 2
      Date and time
      August 12, 2014, 4:24PM
    • Beale at 10 is mistake. Foley brings structure, solid defence, sound decision making, pushing the line and he is the best fly half we have had sjnce Bernie. KB - He deserves a start but not at 10 and Tomua should be making way for him.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 7:46AM
    • Forget openside. More worried abt AAC instead of Kuridrani at centre. This will definitely come back to bite us. We'll miss Kuridrani's defence, direct running and passing. AAC = hog.

      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 8:51AM
  • I think Link needs to be commended for picking the best combo and making sure that AAC is in his most effective position. A bit tough on Foley however KB has earned the start and Foley is a super back up. Same goes for Kuridrani who has done nothing wrong.
    The forwards look powerful although Charles may need a little time to calm his nerves but he has good heads around him and the forwards bench with McCalman, Higginbotham and kelton give great depth.
    Should be a cracker of a match.

    Date and time
    August 12, 2014, 12:16PM
    • Starting KB at 10 is a really interesting decision, and I agree KB's definitely earned a start. He floats in an out of 10 at the Tahs, so I suppose Link is satisfied with the work he's seen from him. I guess he's looking for KB to exercise his flair early to tire out the defense a bit, and then have Foley come in later in the game and start bending the line / carving them up with some direct running. 

      Date and time
      August 12, 2014, 2:20PM
  • Without Ice Man Bernard Foley, who's doing the kicking? Slippery Dip Beale? Worry worry

    Date and time
    August 12, 2014, 12:28PM
    • @ Lillee

      Excellent question as I hadn't thought of that.... I'm still in a bit fo shock about Foley missing out. Dead right.... who's kicking for the Wallaby Link ??

      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      August 12, 2014, 12:38PM
    • It would have to be White right?

      Date and time
      August 12, 2014, 12:56PM

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