Kuridrani hits 50 for Wallabies

Tevita Kuridrani will run out for his 50th Test for the Wallabies when they face the Springboks at the nib Stadium in Perth on Saturday.

Kuridrani has retained the number 13 jersey and will, once again, line up in midfield with Kurtley Beale in this must-win Test for the Wallabies.

Head coach Michael Cheika has made four changes to the squad who were narrowly defeated by New Zealand in Dunedin two weeks ago.

With the withdrawal of first-choice hooker Stephen Moore, who stayed in Brisbane for the birth of his third child, the door opened for Rebels rookie Jordan Uelese’s potential debut, who despite his limited game time at the elite level starts starts on the replacements bench.

Tatafu Polota-Nau will take the number two jersey in one of three changes to the starting pack, with Sekope Kepu to start at tighthead prop and Adam Coleman returning from injury to partner Rory Arnold in the second row.

Coleman was an 11th-hour withdrawal from the Wallabies’ second Bledisloe Cup Test with a shoulder injury, but has shaken that off in the fortnight since.

His Force team-mate Dane Haylett-Petty was ruled out earlier on Thursday, with the wing set to undergo surgery on a torn bicep muscle, putting him out for the rest of the 2017 season.

Reece Hodge will replace Haylett-Petty in the starting side, his first start of the year at Test level.

Samu Kerevi has earned a reprieve onto the bench after being dropped for the second Bledisloe Test in Dunedin, having played for Brisbane City in the opening round of the NRC last weekend.

Flanker Jack Dempsey is in line to add to his one June appearance, named on the bench in favour of Lopeti Timani for this weekend’s South African challenge.

Uelese, 20, bolted into the Wallabies squad last month and has not put a foot wrong since bringing his hulking frame into the Test landscape, impressing his team-mates and coaches alike.

The Melbourne youngster has played three games for the Rebels, with 16, five and seven minutes in those outings, as well as starring in the U20s World Championship campaign.

He has played just 28 minutes of Super Rugby but Rebels rookie Jordan Uelese is in line to be the latest Wallabies debutant, named in Australia’s 23 to take on the Springboks.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio 
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Curtis Rona

Date: Saturday, September 9
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 18:00 local (10:00 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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