Quade Cooper back while Jed Holloway debuts against Pumas


Australia have announced their side that will face Argentina in their Rugby Championship opener, with Quade Cooper returning at fly-half.

Cooper, who missed the Wallabies’ recent 2-1 series defeat to England due to injury, is back in the number 10 jersey for Saturday’s game in Mendoza.

The mercurial playmaker will line up alongside scrum-half Nic White in a vastly experienced half-back combination as they look to see off Los Pumas.

Hunter Paisami starts at 12

Elsewhere in the backline, the midfield combination sees Hunter Paisami start at inside center alongside number 13 Len Ikitau in a strong partnership.

Jordan Petaia has recovered from injury to take a place on the right wing while the reliable Marika Koroibete is on the left with Tom Wright at full-back.

In the forwards there is an international debut for 29-year-old forward Jed Holloway, who starts as the blindside flanker, alongside captain Michael Hooper and number eight Rob Valetini. Holloway takes the place of Harry Wilson in the number six jersey.

There is a return to the line-up following suspension for Darcy Swain at lock as he joins Matt Philip in the engine room, with Nick Frost on the bench.

Meanwhile in the front-row, James Slipper continues to loosehead prop and is seen to pack down alongside Allan Alaalatoa and hooker Folau Fainga’a.

“We’ve had a strong week of preparation over here in Argentina and we are highly motivated to put on a performance that makes our supporters proud back home in Australia,” Australia head coach Dave Rennie said in a statement after naming the side.

Special occasion for Jed Holloway

“It’s an extremely special occasion for Jed, Matt and their families and it’s up to the rest of us to make sure it’s a positive memory on their Test debuts.”

He added: “Argentina will be full of confidence after their home series win over Scotland and we know we’ll need to be at our best to get a good result on Saturday afternoon.”

Australia: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Darcy Swain , 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Jake Gordon, 23 Reece Hodge

Date: Saturday, August 6
Venue: Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
Kick-off: 16:10 local (20:10 BST, 19:10 GMT)
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

READ MORE: Argentina: Julian Montoya returns to lead Pumas in Rugby Championship opener against Australia

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