Quade Cooper in for Australia while James O’Connor misses out

·1 min read

Quade Cooper will form an experienced half-back combination with Nic White for Australia’s series opener against England in Perth on Saturday.

Cooper will play his first Test since helping the Wallabies to a narrow win against Japan in October and edges James O’Connor and Noah Lolesio for the number 10 jersey.

Lolesio provides cover for Cooper from the bench but O’Connor has been left out of the matchday 23 altogether.

Former Exeter scrum-half White joins Cooper to resume a playmaking axis that masterminded five straight wins last year and they will be looking to launch the powerful Samu Kerevi at inside centre.

Openside Michael Hooper captains the team for the 66th time and there are two debutants in hooker David Porecki and lock Cadeyrn Neville.

“There were a lot of challenging decisions, which is a good thing because we’ve been trying to build depth,” head coach Dave Rennie said.

“We left James out of the mix because he’s not quite sharp enough yet after missing a large chunk of the year. He’s back fit and available but lacks a bit of sharpness.

“Quade brings a calmness, he has massive experience and has trained very well.”

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