Tate McDermott to captain Wallabies in Bledisloe Cup rematch in Dunedin

Tate McDermott Australia v New Zealand 2023 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Tate McDermott Australia v New Zealand 2023 – PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Scrum-half Tate McDermott has been appointed as the Wallabies’ 86th Test captain ahead of their second Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday.

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones has entrusted the 24-year-old with the leadership reins after Allan Alaalatoa, who captained Australia in last week’s Bledisloe Cup Test in Melbourne, was ruled out due to an Achilles injury which he sustained in that match.

First choice captains not in starting XV

Meanwhile, Michael Hooper and James Slipper – who are Australia’s official co-captains – are not named in the Wallabies’ starting line-up for this fixture.

Hooper is still sidelined with a calf injury which he sustained in training ahead of their Round Two Rugby Championship clash with Argentina, while Slipper has been named amongst the replacements for the Bledisloe Cup rematch at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Despite suffering a 38-7 loss to New Zealand in Melbourne, Jones has kept faith with most of the players who started that game. The backline remains unchanged although there are some alterations to the pack of forwards.

In the back-row Tom Hooper shifts from openside flank to the blindside, where he takes over from Jed Holloway, while Fraser McReight comes into the run-on side to wear the number seven jersey.

In other changes, Alaalatoa’s spot as the starting tighthead prop is taken by Pone Fa’amausili while, in the second-row, Richie Arnold replaces Will Skelton, who drops down to the replacements bench.

Despite being relatively young, Jones believes McDermott is the right choice as captain and expects him to shine in the leadership role.

“We need to regenerate the team. We’ve got our third captain in the Rugby Championship and plus,” Jones said.

“Watching him closely at Super Rugby level, he captains a young Reds team and now coming into the team as the starting nine, he’s got great potential, a calm head but shows good direction and the field and he’s got all the attributes of a good captain.”

With Hooper shifting to the blindside and McReight coming in on the openside, Jones has now selected his fourth back-row pairing in four Tests.

“Really happy with Tom, his work rate in that game was incredible at seven,” said Jones. “I don’t think we’ve seen anything for a long period of time (like that),” Jones remarked.

“If you look at the GPS of the game from last week, that’s one of the highest volume games I’ve coached in, I think the ball in play time was 44 minutes. Hooper had something like an average of two accelerations per minute. He was outstanding.”

Sticking with an inexperienced side

Saturday’s run-on side is one of the Wallabies’ most inexperienced teams in the professional era, with just 277 caps, which is the seventh lowest.

“I think we’ve got to improve the team and we’ve decided to improve the team through promoting the young players,” Jones added.

“That doesn’t mean the senior players haven’t got a crucial role to play. If you have a look at our team on the weekend, we’ve got 274 caps in the starting 15 and 260 caps in three players on the finishing bench.

“That gives you an indication of where the team is and we need to keep progressing this young team forward.

“We feel they can be a team that’s capable of winning big games consistently and at the moment, we’re going through a bit of up and down as we get there.”

Australia: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Tate McDermott (c), 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Tom Hooper, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Nick Frost, 3 Pone Fa’amausili, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell

Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Izaia Perese

Date: Saturday, August 5

Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Kick-off: 14:35 local (03:35 BST, 02:35 GMT)

Referee: Karl Dickson (England)

Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Christophe Ridley (England)

TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

READ MORE: Will Jordan shifted to full-back, three debutants named in All Blacks squad for Bledisloe II

The article Tate McDermott to captain Wallabies in Bledisloe Cup rematch in Dunedin appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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