AUSTRALIA will be boosted by the return of Michael Hooper, making his 122nd Wallabies appearance and first since July, in Saturday’s Autumn Test Series opener against Scotland at Murrayfield, as part of a reshuffled back-row alongside Rob Valetini and Jed Holloway. The flanker missed the recent Rugby Championship to take a mental health break.
He’s one of a number of changes to the match-day 23, with Queensland captain Tate McDermott earning his first start of the 2022 campaign at scrum-half, partnering Bernard Foley kicked the infamous penalty which broke Scots hearts at the 2015 World Cup.
Tom Banks is selected to start at full-back after making a successful return from a broken arm during the Australia A tour of Japan, with Andrew Kellaway reverting to the right wing, and Tom Wright replacing Marika Koroibete on the other touchline. Hunter Paisami comes in at inside-centre to partner Len Ikitau in the midfield.
The dynamic Nick Frost is the final change to the starting XV, selected for his second start at international level, partnering ACT Brumbies teammate Cadeyrn Neville in the second-row.
“We’re rapt for Hoops,” said Australia head coach Dave Rennie. “He’s been outstanding both on and off the field since re-entering the environment and he can’t wait to pull on the gold jersey again.”
“Likewise for Tate who has been working really hard and deserves his opportunity to start, while Banksy has shown resilience to come back from another serious injury to earn his spot in the team.
“We’ve had a great preparation over the past week or so and we’ll head to Murrayfield excited by the challenge Scotland will pose on Saturday.”
Australia (v Scotland at Murrayfield, Saturday @ 5.30pm): T Banks; A Kellaway, L Ikitau, H Paisami, T Wright; B Foley, T McDermott; J Slipper©, D Porecki, A Alaalatoa, N Frost, C Neville, J Holloway, M Hooper, R Valetini. Substitutes: F Fainga’a, M Gibbon, T Tupou, N Hanigen, P Samu, N White, N Lolesio, J Campbell.