Ruthless Wallabies coach swings the axe

Unsatisfied with last weekend’s enthralling draw in Wellington, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has ruthlessly swung the axe ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Bledisloe match.

On Friday morning, Rennie announced four changes to Australia’s 22 which will face the All Blacks in Auckland.

Ned Hanigan makes his return to the Wallabies starting XV for this first time in almost two years, his most recent Test match coming against England in November 2018.

The 25-year-old forward will replace Pete Samu, who has been ruthlessly cut from the squad.

With Hanigan set to start at blindside flanker, young gun Harry Wilson will shift to No. 8 after his memorable debut.

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After the Wallabies lost three of their own lineouts last weekend, hooker Folau Fainga’a has been axed and replaced by Queensland Reds star Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

Brumbies playmaker Noah Lolesio has also been relegated, along with reserve back-rower Rob Valetini.

Meanwhile, Liam Wright and Jordan Petaia will start Sunday’s fixture on the bench, the latter missing game one due to a hip injury sustained during last month’s Super Rugby AU final.

Wallabies players huddle during the Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand.Source:Getty Images

“We’ve got a group of 44-men who are all working hard and pushing for selection,” Rennie said.

“We’ve had massive support from back home and as a team we definitely feel that and it’s something we’ll draw on on Sunday afternoon.

“We know that New Zealand will step it up another level this weekend, we’re excited by the challenge ahead.”

Australia has not defeated New Zealand at Eden Park since 1986. The All Blacks haven’t lost any Test matches at the intimidating venue in 26 years.

The second Bledisloe match will kick-off on Sunday at 2pm AEDT, and can be watched on Fox Sports and Kayo.

WALLABIES STARTING XV

1. James Slipper

2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa

3. Taniela Tupou

4. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto

5. Matt Philip

6. Ned Hanigan

7. Michael Hooper (c)

8. Harry Wilson

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. Liam Wright

21. Jake Gordon

22. Jordan Petaia

23. Reece Hodge

Sam Cane of the All Blacks during the haka.Source:Getty Images

ALL BLACKS STARTING XV

1. Joe Moody

2. Dane Coles

3. Ofa Tuungafasi

4. Patrick Tuipulotu

5. Tupou Vaa’i

6. Shannon Frizell

7. Sam Cane (c)

8. Ardie Savea

9. Aaron Smith

10. Richie Mo’unga

11. Caleb Clarke

12. Jack Goodhue

13. Anton Lienert-Brown

14. Jordie Barrett

15. Beauden Barrett

Replacements

16. Codie Taylor

17. Alex Hodgman (debut)

18. Nepo Laulala

19. Scott Barrett

20. Hoskins Sotutu

21. TJ Perenara

22. Rieko Ioane

23. Damian McKenzie

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