Wallabies name Hodge at fullback as O'Connor returns from injury

Thu, 23/09/2021, 02:43 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named Reece Hodge to play fullback for Saturday's clash against Argentina in Townsville, with James O'Connor set to make his return via the bench.

Hodge slotted into the position during last week's 30-17 win over South Africa and will retain the role with Tom Banks (arm) ruled out for the rest of the Rugby Championship.

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He is joined in the starting side by Rebels teammate Rob Leota, who comes into blindside flanker for Lachie Swinton.

Leota made his debut against South Africa from the bench a fortnight ago, with the 24-year-old in line for his debut start.

“It's a really proud moment for Rob and his family to earn his first start in Wallaby gold and we're all rapt for him," Rennie said in a statement.

“He’s really impressed us with his work ethic on and off the field and worked hard for this opportunity.

"It's been fantastic to connect with the Townsville community this week ahead of the first ever Test here and we're determined to build on the past couple of performances on Saturday night."

The only other change comes on the bench as Reds flyhalf James O'Connor makes his long-awaited return from injury.

O'Connor has not featured in gold in 2021, hampered by an ongoing groin complaint aggravated ahead of the France series.

He is joined by Reds teammates Tate McDermott and Jordan Petaia.

The Wallabies will wear their new First Nations jersey at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday, in what will be their first-ever Test match in Townsville.

Wallabies team to play Argentina at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville on Saturday 25 September, 8:05pm AEST

1. James Slipper (108 Tests)

2. Folau Fainga’a (19 Tests)

3. Taniela Tupou (33 Tests)

4. Izack Rodda (28 Tests)

5. Matt Philip (17 Tests)

6. Rob Leota (1 Test)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (113 Tests)

8. Rob Valetini (12 Tests)

9. Nic White (41 Tests)

10. Quade Cooper (72 Tests)

11. Marika Koroibete (41 Tests)

12. Samu Kerevi (36 Tests)

13. Len Ikitau (7 Tests)

14. Andrew Kellaway (7 Tests)

15. Reece Hodge (51 Tests)

Replacements

16. Feleti Kaitu’u (2 Tests)

17. Angus Bell (10 Tests)

18. Tom Robertson (25 Tests)

19. Darcy Swain (7 Tests)

20. Pete Samu (13 Tests)

21. Tate McDermott (10 Tests)

22. James O’Connor (55 Tests)

23. Jordan Petaia (12 Tests)

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