James O'Connor has impressed Dave Rennie.
James O'Connor has impressed Dave Rennie.

Four debutants, snub in Wallabies team reveal

New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named four debutants in his team to face the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup opener on Sunday in Wellington.

Rennie has surprised by including three uncapped Queensland Reds players in his starting side, while James O'Connor will start at No. 10, star speedster Jordan Petaia is out with a hip flexor injury and scrum half Tate McDermott was the biggest omission.

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Rennie's team announcement hands debuts to Hunter Paisami, Harry Wilson and Filipo Daugunu in his starting side.

Brumbies playmaker Noah Lolesio will also make his debut from the bench.

James O'Connor selected as the Wallabies' starting No. 10 for the first time since 2013 is another key gamble by Rennie, who has gone with the experience of Nic White at No. 9 and Matt To'omua at inside centre.

Rennie said earlier this week his priority was finding the right balance in his halves, while also suggesting he would not be afraid to inject some youth into the team.

"When you pick sides it's about complimentary players as well and the mix is important," Rennie said.

"It'll end up being a blend of guys who have been around and worn the jersey a lot.

"It'll help the nerves of some of the young men as well, so, it'll be a good blend."

James O'Connor is back in business.
James O'Connor is back in business.

In a statement issued with the team announcement, Rennie said: "It's a privilege for me to be able to announce the first Australian side of the year and especially to name a number of players who will wear the gold jersey for the first time.

"I've been impressed with how quickly the squad has come together. There's a good group of men here and the last three weeks has given us a chance to work hard and learn more about each other.

"We need to demonstrate that brotherhood and connection on Sunday."

WALLABIES TEAM FOR FIRST BLEDISLOE CUP TEST

1. James Slipper

2. Folau Fainga'a

3. Taniela Tupou

4. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto

5. Matt Philip

6. Harry Wilson

7. Michael Hooper (c)

8. Pete Samu

9. Nic White

10. James O'Connor

11. Marika Koroibete

12. Matt To'omua

13. Hunter Paisami

14. Filipo Daugunu

15. Tom Banks

Replacements: 16. Jordan Uelese, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Allan Alaalatoa, 19. Rob Simmons, 20. Rob Valetini, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Noah Lolesio, 23. Reece Hodge

Originally published as Four debutants, snub in Wallabies team reveal


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