Quade Cooper has been tasked with rescuing the Wallabies’ quest for the Bledisloe Cup after being named at flyhalf for the second Test against the All Blacks on Saturday in New Zealand.
Cooper’s appointment comes following Australia’s 42-8 home defeat to the Kiwi’s last weekend in what will be his first match in the green and gold since last year’s World Cup.
He will partner with Bernard Foley (inside centre) and Samu Kerevi (outside centre) after the Aussies were hit with injuries to centres Matt Giteau and Rob Horne in last Saturday’s annihilation.
The pair were ruled out for the remainder of the Rugby Championship.
Cooper will run out in his 59th appearance for the Wallabies after returning from French club Toulon as Australia attempts to claim its first victory against the All Blacks in New Zealand since 2001.
They must win to keep their Bledisloe hopes alive.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Cooper was a good acquisition adding that he could expect a hostile Wellington crowd after some well-documented run-ins with former New Zealand Ritchie McCaw.
“Quade’s a good player, he gets maligned a wee bit over here because of a few incidents with Richie,” Hansen said.
“We’re not too forgiving of people who pick on Rich — I’m talking about the fans.
“Within the team he’s well respected. He’ll enhance them, I think.”
All Blacks No.10 Beauden Barrett said he hoped the crowd would not bet too harsh on the playmaker.
“He’s a good bloke and he deserves to be treated like anyone else,” Barrett said.
Lock Rob Simmons and backrower Ben McCalman have been dropped from the squad.
New Zealand vs. Australia
Second Bledisloe Cup Test, Saturday, August 27, 5.35pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
All Blacks: 15. Ben Smith 14. Israel Dagg 13. Malakai Fekitoa 12. Anton Lienert-Brown 11. Julian Savea 10. Beauden Barrett 9. Aaron Smith 8. Kieran Read — captain 7. Sam Cane 6. Jerome Kaino 5. Samuel Whitelock 4. Brodie Retallick 3. Owen Franks 2. Dane Coles 1. Joe Moody. Reserves: 16. James Parsons 17. Wyatt Crockett 18. Charlie Faumuina 19. Liam Squire 20. Ardie Savea 21. TJ Perenara 22. Aaron Cruden 23. Seta Tamanivalu.
Wallabies: 15. Israel Folau 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper 13. Samu Kerevi 12. Bernard Foley 11. Dane Haylett-Petty 10. Quade Cooper 9. Will Genia 8. David Pocock 7. Michael Hooper 6. Scott Fardy 5. Adam Coleman 4. Kane Douglas 3. Sekope Kepu 2. Stephen Moore (captain) 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau 17. James Slipper 18. Allan Ala’alatoa 19. Dean Mumm 20. Will Skelton 21. Nick Phipps 22. Tevita Kuridrani 23. Reece Hodge.