Whitelock returns for All Blacks, Wallabies name four debutants

By Sports Desk October 28, 2020

Sam Whitelock has been named to return for the All Blacks, while the Wallabies included two debutants in their starting side.

Whitelock has recovered from concussion to return for the Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations Series clash in Sydney on Saturday.

The lock's return is one of three changes to the starting XV for New Zealand.

While Whitelock replaces Tupou Vaa'i, Karl Tu'inukuafe is in for Joe Moody and Hoskins Sotutu takes Ardie Savea's place.

The All Blacks lead the four-game Bledisloe Cup series 1-0 as they seek to keep a trophy they have held since 2003.

"It's the third Test of a four-Test series and the Bledisloe Cup is on the line," All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said.

"It's a real chance for us to come into their home patch, a place which they take a lot of pride in playing and for a trophy which means a lot to them, and we need to show them how much it means to us. 

"The chance to go and win a trophy that's precious to us is exciting."

Australia have named two debutants – Noah Lolesio and Irae Simone – in their starting side, with James O'Connor out with a knee injury.

Allan Alaalatoa, Jordan Petaia and Dane Haylett-Petty will also start, while debutants Fraser McReight and Tate McDermott are among the replacements.

"It's really exciting to be able to name four more debutants in the squad this week," Australia coach Dave Rennie said.

"Noah and Irae have played a lot of footy together and we have no doubt they're ready to take the step up to Test rugby. Tate and Fraser have had big Super Rugby seasons and have impressed in training over the past month.

"It's an especially significant night for us with the chance to represent and celebrate our First Nations people by wearing the Indigenous jersey on home soil in front of our Wallabies family.

"We know New Zealand will pose another tough challenge but we've prepared well and will be ready to go on Saturday night."

Australia: Dane Haylett-Petty, Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Irae Simone, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Nic White; James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Matt Philip, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson.
Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Hunter Paisami.

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Karl Tu'inukuafe, Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Hoskins Sotutu.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Tyrel Lomax, Scott Barrett, Dalton Papalii, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, Rieko Ioane.

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