Former NRL star to debut for Wallabies in Bledisloe

Curtis Rona is tackled while playing for the Western Force against the Queensland Reds.
Curtis Rona is tackled while playing for the Western Force against the Queensland Reds. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

WESTERN Force code-hopper Curtis Rona will make his Wallabies debut in the furnace of a Bledisloe Cup at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

Rona was named as a starting winger in the Wallabies team by Michael Cheika on Thursday after Dane Haylett-Petty was ruled out with a biceps injury.

Though Rona played all season as a centre for the Force, the 25-year-old has trained exclusively as a winger with the Wallabies, the same position in which he proved to be a try-scoring freak in the NRL for the Bulldogs and Cowboys.

In other major selections, Stephen Moore will start at hooker ahead of Tatafu Polota-Nau despite recently stepping down as captain and announcing he would retire from Test rugby at the end of the year.

Moore's set-piece accuracy was no doubt a factor in his selection.

Having missed the June series with injury, Sean McMahon has won the No.8 jersey ahead of Lopeti Timani.

Outside centre Samu Kerevi also returns to the starting side after missing the June series with injury.

He will form an all-new centre pairing with Kurtley Beale, who was named to play in his first Wallabies Test since the World Cup final in 2015.

The Wallabies have one of their more experienced benches in recent years, with four of the eight having played more than 50 Tests and a fifth - Tevita Kuridrani - sitting on 47 Tests.

1. Scott Sio (32 Tests)

2. Stephen Moore (120 Tests)

3. Allan Alaalatoa (11 Tests)

4. Rory Arnold (12 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (12 Tests)

6. Ned Hanigan (3 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (68 Tests)

8. Sean McMahon (15 Tests)

9. Will Genia (78 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (45 Tests)

11. Curtis Rona (debut)

12. Kurtley Beale (60 Tests)

13. Samu Kerevi (8 Tests)

14. Henry Speight (12 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (55 Tests)


16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (71 Tests)

17. Tom Robertson (9 Tests)

18. Sekope Kepu (80 Tests)

19. Rob Simmons (71 Tests)

20. Lopeti Timani (7 Tests)

21. Nick Phipps (52 Tests)

22. Reece Hodge (13 Tests)

23. Tevita Kuridrani (47 Tests)

Topics:  bledisloe cup wallabies

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