Wallabies can upset All Blacks in physical battle, says Dave Rennie

“For me, it’s trying to carry a lot and try and get in their face a lot in defence,” Valetini said. “With Swinton in the team [we are not] going to take a backward step there.

“Last week we were dipping our toes in a bit and respecting them a little bit in the game. They threw the first punch last week. We want to take control of the game.”

Matt To’omua will wear the No.12 Wallabies jersey this weekend at Eden Park.

Matt To’omua will wear the No.12 Wallabies jersey this weekend at Eden Park. Credit:Getty

Rennie labelled New Zealand’s team “predictable” after they named an identical forward pack for game two.

Rieko Ioane moves to the centres, with Anton Lienert-Brown out due to a knee injury. Sevu Reece moves to the left wing, while Will Jordan has been named on the other edge.


Marika Koroibete comes back into Australia’s XV on the wing, with Andrew Kellaway edging out Jordan Petaia for the other wing position.

Australia sorely missed Koroibete in game one, particularly given Petaia had a quiet match by his standards.

The Wallabies have lost just one of their four Tests against the All Blacks when Koroibete has scored a try (two wins and a draw).

“He is jumping out of his skin,” Rennie said of Koroibete. “He’s right up there in terms of elite rugby players in the world. Incredibly quick, very physical. He’s not a big man but he’s made of concrete. He hits hard and carries hard.

“Andrew Kellaway was one of our best on the field. Jordy hasn’t played a lot of rugby. We’ve talked about rewarding form and not picking on reputation.”


With Len Ikitau dropped back to the bench, Matt To’omua’s impressive cameo in Auckland sees him promoted to inside-centre with Hunter Paisami moving a position wider to No.13.

To’omua’s calming influence should benefit 21-year-old No.10 Lolesio and the rest of Australia’s relatively inexperienced back line.

Combined, Koroibete and To’omua have more than double the Test experience of Australia’s other five starting backs.

Rennie has also welcomed back 37-Test veteran Nic White, who knows as well as anyone what winning at Eden Park would do for the Wallabies’ confidence, as well as another experienced head in Scott Sio.

“These are the ones you dream of. There’s a lot to play for this weekend,” White said. “It’s having the belief when we do things well that we can put them under pressure. For glimpses we did that on the weekend. Did we do that for the full 80? No. They had a red-hot 15 minutes where they turned it up.”

Wallabies team

(1-15): James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Matt Philip, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Rob Valetini, Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua, Hunter Paisami, Andrew Kellaway, Tom Banks.

Bench: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Harry Wilson, Nic White, Len Ikitau, Reece Hodge.

All Blacks team

(1-15): George Bower, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock (c), Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Sevu Reece, David Havili, Rieko Ioane, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie.

Bench: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett.

Watch every match of the Bledisloe Cup and The Rugby Championship with live, ad-free and on-demand coverage on Stan Sport continuing this Saturday from 4.30pm AEST.

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