Trio return for first TRC action, Philip missing and Tupou still sidelined

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has recalled Harry Wilson, Cadeyrn Neville and Angus Bell for their first games of this year’s Rugby Championship.

The three players were last spotted against England, where Neville suffered a knee injury and Bell a toe injury. Neville will partner Jed Holloway in the second row with Matt Philip missing out altogether. Rennie is expected to confirm Philip has an injury later Thursday.

Wilson will play at No.8 with Rob Valetini switching to No.6 and Pete Samu getting another shot at No.7 after his dynamic performance in Bledisloe I last Thursday. Rob Leota’s season is over after suffering an Achilles rupture in Melbourne.

The front row is unchanged but there is no place for Taniela Tupou, who has had a calf injury, on the bench. Before the opening Bledisloe Cup match, Rennie said he was hopeful of a Tupou return for game two at Eden Park.

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Bell will be on the bench as reserve loosehead with hooker Folau Fainga’a and Pone Fa’amausili the other front row replacements.

Rennie has kept the backline stable with Jake Gordon starting over Nic White again and partnering Bernard Foley in the halves.

Lalakai Foketi, who impressed last week, stays at No.12 ahead of Hunter Paisami with Len Ikitau at 13.

The back three also remains the same with last week’s dual try-scorer Andrew Kellaway selected at fullback with Tom Wright and Marika Koroibete on the wings.

Reece Hodge will be the back up No.10 and should play his 60th Test off the bench.

The Wallabies haven’t won in 22 straight games at Eden Park since 1986.

“The side parked the disappointment of the last Test early in the week and we have plenty to play for in Auckland on Saturday night,” Rennie said in a statement.

“New Zealand supporters have an expectation that the All Blacks win at Eden Park and we’re excited to get another crack at them at their spiritual home.”

Holloway said: “We just have to lick our wounds at go again. There’s no lack of motivation after last week obviously. It was a great Test match to be a part, awesome being out there but a disappointing ending.

“We’ve had two really solid training days so we’re pumped to get over there and rip in again.”

New Zealand announced six changes to their team on Thursday.

Wallabies team
1. James Slipper (c) (122 Tests)
2. David Porecki (6 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (59 Tests)
4. Jed Holloway (5 Tests)
5. Cadeyrn Neville (2 Tests)
6. Rob Valetini (26 Tests)
7. Pete Samu (27 Tests)
8. Harry Wilson (11 Tests)
9. Jake Gordon (15 Tests)
10. Bernard Foley (72 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (50 Tests)
12. Lalakai Foketi (3 Tests)
13. Len Ikitau (20 Tests)
14. Tom Wright (17 Tests)
15. Andrew Kellaway (17 Tests)
Replacements
16. Folau Fainga’a (32 Tests)
17. Angus Bell (19 Tests)
18. Pone Fa’amausili (2 Tests)
19. Nick Frost (4 Tests)
20. Fraser McReight (7 Tests)
21. Nic White (55 Tests)
22. Reece Hodge (59 Tests)
23. Jordan Petaia (21 Tests)

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