Bledisloe Cup

The Rugby Championship 2016

Quade Cooper dropped as Australia try to stop all-conquering All Blacks

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika makes four changes to the side that finished the Rugby Championship with victory over Argentina

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 8:11am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 9:31pm

Australia have dropped fly-half Quade Cooper for Saturday’s test against New Zealand at Eden Park, where the All Blacks will be going for a record 18th successive test victory.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who delayed the naming of his team until Friday, made four changes to the side that finished the Rugby Championship with a victory over Argentina.

Standout loose forward David Pocock returns from injury to take a place on the bench with the pack unchanged from that which started the match against the Pumas at Twickenham.

‘Focused’ All Blacks won’t be distracted by Australia in world record bid

New Zealand-born Cooper, who has struggled at Eden Park in the past, will be replaced in the number 10 shirt by Bernard Foley, who played at inside centre for most of the Rugby Championship.

Foley will be reunited in a halfback partnership with his New South Wales Waratahs team-mate Nick Phipps, who comes into the starting line-up for Will Genia. Genia has returned to club duties in France.

Reece Hodge moves inside from the wing to strike up a midfield partnership with Samu Kerevi, allowing Fiji-born winger Henry Speight a first start for the Wallabies since last year’s World Cup.

Hodge gets his first start in his preferred number 12 shirt after an impressive first five tests as an outside back.

Australia will be a ‘different beast’ at Eden Park as All Blacks eye record

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen predicted the dropping of Cooper and the move of Hodge to the centres in his pre-match media conference on Thursday.

New Zealand will retain the Bledisloe Cup for a 13th straight year regardless of the result of Saturday’s match after back-to-back victories over Australia in August.

Wallabies: 15-Israel Folau, 14-Dane Haylett-Petty, 13-Samu Kerevi, 12-Reece Hodge, 11-Henry Speight, 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Nick Phipps, 8-Lopeti Timani, 7-Michael Hooper, 6-Dean Mumm, 5-Adam Coleman, 4-Rory Arnold, 3-Sekope Kepu, 2-Stephen Moore (c), 1-Scott Sio. Replacements: 16-James Hanson, 17-Tom Robertson, 18-Alan Alaalatoa, 19-Rob Simmons, 20-David Pocock, 21-Nick Frisby, 22-Quade Cooper, 23-Sefa Naivalu