Rugby | Cheika dumps props for Melbourne Test

Melbourne – Australia coach Michael Cheika replaced both his prop forwards as he revealed a rejigged scrum on Wednesday for this week’s must-win second Test against England.

Cheika axed Greg Holmes and Scott Sio in favour of Sekope Kepu and James Slipper after problems in the Wallabies’ front row in last week’s 39-28 defeat in Brisbane.

Sio, who was yellow-carded for persistently bringing the scrum down in Brisbane, failed even to make the extended list of replacements.

They were among four changes to the Wallabies pack, with Sean McMahon called up to replace talismanic flanker David Pocock, who is out with a fractured eye socket.

Brumbies lock Sam Carter also gets the nod for the first time this season for Saturday’s game in Melbourne, which is the second of three Tests.

However the Wallabies backline, which was involved in all four of the home team’s tries in Brisbane, remains unchanged.

“Based on last weekend’s performance, we decided that we wanted some new combinations for Saturday’s game,” Cheika said.

“Sean never takes a backwards step while James and Sekope add plenty of Test match experience.”

Cheika also named an extended replacements bench, which will be pared back later this week and includes Western Force utility Luke Morahan.

“Obviously with his selection, we’re looking at a five-three split on the bench as opposed to the six forwards we had last weekend,” Cheika said.

Rebels prop Toby Smith was also named on the bench, as was 57-Test veteran Wycliff Palu and Reds flank Liam Gill, who last played for the Wallabies in a win over Ireland in 2013.

Australia must win the second Test in Melbourne to keep the three-Test series alive. The third Test will be played in Sydney on June 25.



15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 James Slipper

Substitutes (three to be omitted): Tatafu Polota-Nau, Toby Smith, Greg Holmes, James Horwill, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Ben McCalman, Liam Gill, Nick Frisby, Christian Leali’ifano, Luke Morahan



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