The Wallabies have made significant changes to the side that were beaten in the frst Bledisloe Cup match last week.
Many of the changes have been enforced, but I am sure you will be as surprised as I was at one or two of the tactical changes. The ABC details the following transformations in the line up
Wallabies name Cooper for Bledisloe clash
Quade Cooper returns to the Wallabies' starting line-up for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand, having been named at fly half.
Cooper was left out of the Wallabies' 22-man squad that lost 27-19 to the All Blacks in Sydney last Saturday night and his inclusion to play at Eden Park comes as part of a backline reshuffle.
He will be making his first Test appearance since injuring his knee against Wales in the bronze medal play-off at the World Cup at the same venue last October.
Berrick Barnes, who played in the number 10 jersey in Sydney, shifts to inside centre, with Anthony Faingaa dropped.
Kurtley Beale has also been axed with Adam Ashley-Cooper moving to full-back and Drew Mitchell being named on the wing.
Mitchell has not played a Test since injuring his hamstring against Russia at the World Cup, although he was on the reserves bench in Sydney last weekend.
In other changes, Michael Hooper will make his run-on debut for the Wallabies in place of injured captain David Pocock (knee) at openside flanker and Ben Alexander replaces the sidelined Sekope Kepu (prop) at tighthead prop.
Stephen Moore was a late call-up to the starting XV at hooker after Tatafu Polota-Nau was ruled out following training on Thursday because of a gluteal cork.
Will Genia captains the Wallabies in the absence of Pocock, while their reserves bench has yet to be named.
Cooper does not have the most pleasant memories from the Wallabies' last appearance at Eden Park against the All Blacks.
He endured a forgettable performance in the 20-6 semi-final loss at the World Cup and was a constant target for taunts from the parochial New Zealand crowd.
Cooper briefly met with the media following the Wallabies' training session at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney and issued a simple message.
“I'm back, I'm fit, I'm healthy, I'm ready to go and I'll see everyone at Eden Park,” he said….More at Wallabies name Cooper for Bledisloe clash
Bringing Cooper back makes for a more creative backline and the Wallabies certainly need that. Cooper and Barnes work well together at alternating the first receiver when required, Faingaa had to go to make room for that. But I was surprised to see Kurtley Beale has been dropped. Probably punishment for the case of dropsy that he and many other Wallabies suffered last week.
Drew Mitchell is a welcome return and can always be dangerous. Let's just hope he can stay injury free for the foreseeable future.
The forward changes are less positive. Mostly brought about by injuries. Pocock wil be sorely missed, being the Wallabies first and best at the breakdown. Stephen Moore is more than capable at hooker and hopefully Ben Alexander will be able to hold up hs side of the scrum.
In contrast New Zealand have made only one change to last weeks starting line up. Loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett has been brought in to replace Tony Woodcock, who suffered a rib injury in the 27-19 victory over the Wallabies.
Bledisloe Two 2012 kicks off at 7:35PM local time at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday
- Wallabies v. All Blacks: Bledisloe 2 Team announcement
- Wallabies won't hide Cooper
- All Blacks make one change to face Wallabies
- Wallabies out to right past wrongs