THE Wallabies are banking on a new Kurtley Beale-Matt Toomua combination to fire up their underperforming team tonight (8.05pm AEST) against a Springboks side also hoping a radical shake up pays dividends.
Both of them are coming off demoralising Rugby Championship defeats — to New Zealand and Argentina respectively — and need to win their showdown at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium to restore some pride.
In a double blow for Australia, influential flanker David Pocock and fullback Israel Folau have both been ruled out with injury.
They also go into the game without a start from long-time playmaker Bernard Foley, who is paying the price for the Wallabies crashing to four straight losses — twice to Ireland and twice to New Zealand.
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Relegating him to the bench was a brave decision by under pressure coach Michael Cheika, with Foley a rock who has figured in 46 of the 50 games he has been in charge.
But with calls for Cheika to be sacked after they surrendered the Bledisloe Cup to New Zealand again, he had to do something.
The versatile Beale has been moved into Foley’s No 10 jersey as part of a new midfield core, alongside Toomua at inside centre, with the Wallabies betting on the pair’s strong kicking games to help build pressure.
WALLABIES: Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Reece Hodge, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia, Pete Samu, Michael Hooper (c), Lukhan Tui, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio
Reserves: Folau Faingaa, Tom Robertson, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Ned Hanigan, Joe Powell, Bernard Foley, Tom Banks
SPRINGBOKS: Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (c), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff
Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira, Wilco Louw, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Embrose Papier, Handre Pollard, Cheslin Kolbe
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