Back row forwards Michael Hooper and David Pocock have both been named in the Wallabies starting line-up for The Rugby Championship decider against the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday.
It will be the 1st time the pair will have started a Test together, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika assembling a mobile pack – indicating an intention to play a high-paced game.
Hooper has won the right to the No 7 jersey, with Pocock in at No 8.
“Australian rugby is very fortunate to have some quality flanks competing for the No 7 jumper,” Cheika said when announcing the line-up on Thursday.
“Both players have been in outstanding form for franchise and country this season and have shown their class in sharing the spot in the 1st 2 matches.
“They now have an opportunity to start a Test together which they are very excited about.”
Cheika has shaken up his forward pack for the final Round – a clash between the only 2 unbeaten sides in the competition, that also includes South Africa and Argentina.
James Horwill, Dean Mumm and Scott Sio have been promoted to the starting 15 – with Mumm’s rise since returning from Europe forcing Will Skelton to the bench for the 1st time this season.
In the backs, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps remain the preferred halfback pairing, while Matt Giteau returns from injury to replace Matt Toomua – Giteau in his 1st start against the All Blacks since 2011. The 93-Test veteran forms a centre partnership with Tevita Kuridrani.
Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau form a potent back 3.
The Waratahs have confirmed the signing of lock Dean Mumm, who will return to the club after 3 years with English Premiership side the Exeter Chiefs.
Mumm, who earned 95 New South Wales caps (including 83 at Super Rugby level), during his time with the Waratahs from 2004 – 2012, has signed a 1-year contract and will return to play in the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Waratahs Rugby CEO Greg Harris said he was extremely pleased to secure the signature of Mumm.
Wallabies lock Dean Mumm has admitted it was an “easy decision” to extend his stay with Exeter Chiefs for a further two years.
Signed from the Waratahs ahead of the 2011/12 season, the vastly experienced Australian international has proven an instant hit at Sandy Park, both on and off the field.
What, you may well ask has the headline got to do with this match. Let me explain.