Wallabies team named to play All Blacks in Bledisloe Cup Test

Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa will captain a radical Wallabies team featuring seven starting changes in Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup opener at the MCG.

Alaalatoa will lead Australia for the first time since last year’s disastrous loss to Italy as coach Eddie Jones unveiled several bold decisions on Thursday.

Michael Hooper was not included as he continues to recover from a calf strain while fellow co-captain James Slipper will come off the bench in front of an expected crowd of 80,000 in Melbourne.

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Rebels playmaker Carter Gordon will make his first Test start in his adopted home town as Jones named a brand new halves pairing following a 0-2 start to the Rugby Championship.

Gordon, 22, has replaced Quade Cooper in the No.10 jersey while sparky Reds halfback Tate McDermott is in for the vastly experienced Nic White.

In another bold attacking decision, Jordan Petaia will start at outside centre in place of the injured Len Ikitau after recovering from wrist surgery.

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As expected, Rebels star Andrew Kellaway gets the nod at fullback in place of the dumped Tom Wright while Angus Bell comes in for Slipper at loosehead.

Jones has opted for a large backrow in the final home game before the Rugby World Cup, with Tom Hooper replacing Fraser McReight at openside flanker.

Nick Frost replaces Richie Arnold in the second row while trump card prop Taniela Tupou is a welcome inclusion on the bench.

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“We are a team that wants to make Australia proud and Saturday night is a great opportunity to light up the MCG,” Jones said.

“A young starting XV and vibrant, experienced finishers will give us the 80 minutes we want. Wallaby rugby versus New Zealand rugby, it’s the most important game of the year.”

After picking Cooper ahead of Gordon to play against Argentina earlier this month, Jones stressed the need for caution with his young playmaker.

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“What I don’t want to do is throw him in,” Jones said.

“I want him to be ready to go. He’s a great, great young player, but he’s a young kid at the moment. He’s finding his feet.

“Carter’s coming along beautifully, couldn’t be happier with him. He’s one out, one back. We’re just holding him back at the moment, then we’ll let him go when we get over the rise. We’re not at the rise yet.”

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We are now at the rise as a resurgent All Blacks team lies in wait.

WALLABIES (15-1): Andrew Kellaway, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Carter Gordon, Tate McDermott, Rob Valetini, Tom Hooper, Jed Holloway, Will Skelton, Nick Frost, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Dave Porecki, Angus Bell

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Richie Arnold, Rob Leota, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Izaia Perese

ALL BLACKS (15-1): Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Mark Telea, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea (c), Dalton Papali’i, Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot

Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock, Luke Jacobson, Cam Roigard, Anton Lienert-Brown, Caleb Clarke

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

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