Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has lost patience with Kurtley Beale, instead naming Super Rugby title-winning halves Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps as starters in the Australian side to take on the Springboks in Perth this Saturday.
Beale’s demotion led a host of changes as the Wallabies look to bounce back from last month’s big 51-20 loss to the All Blacks. Joined by Nic White, the duo have been moved to the bench in favour of Foley and Phipps after the two helped lead the New South Wales Waratahs to a first Super Rugby title a month ago.
“They’ve got a proven combination at Super Rugby level and we look forward to seeing how that translates into the Test environment,” McKenzie said Tuesday.
“It’s naturally disappointing for the two guys who missed out on the starting team in Nic and Kurtley, but the reality is we have a lot of good players in those playmaking positions.
In other moves, Adam Ashley-Cooper will move to the wing, replacing the retired Pat McCabe, while Tevita Kuridrani comes in as the new outside runner and James Hanson replaces injured hooker Nathan Charles. Matt Hodgson and Saia Fainga will also receive their first run in a Wallabies colours.
“Traditionally they (South Africa) are a forward-orientated side which uses their size, power and set-piece to put pressure on the opposition,” McKenzie added.
“You have to confront that head-on and match fire with fire.
“The addition of an extra forward also offers us greater flexibility in how we approach our substitutions.”
Australia currently occupies the last spot on the Rugby Championship table after recording a draw and a 31-point loss to the All Blacks in their first two matches.
Wallabies team v Springboks: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper (c), Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Sam Carter, Sekope Kepu, James Hanson, James Slipper. Res: Saia Fainga’a, Pek Cowan, Ben Alexander, James Horwill, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Nic White, Kurtley Beale.
Photo: Matt King/Getty Images