Australia make seven changes for Bledisloe Cup opener in Melbourne

Jordan Petaia returns to the starting XV for the Wallabies
Jordan Petaia returns to the starting XV for the Wallabies
©Steve Haag

Australia head coach Eddie Jones has made seven changes to the starting line up for the Bledisloe Cup opener against New Zealand in Melbourne on Saturday.

Australia captain Michael Hooper continues to be on the sidelines with a calf injury while Andrew Kellaway will make his first start of the year at fullback with Marika Koroibete and Mark Nawaqanitawase continuing their partnership at wings.

Jordan Petaia makes a return at outside centre joining Samu Kerevi at midfield while fly-half Carter Gordon will start at fly-half for the firs time replace Quade Cooper, who drops to the bench.

Queensland Reds halfback Tate McDermott replaces Nic White at scrum-half while Angus Bell's strong performance against Argentina sees him replacing James Slipper at front row.

Nick Frost joins Will Skelton at second row while Tom Hooper dons the number seven jersey replacing Fraser McReight.

“A young starting 15 and vibrant, experienced finishers will give us the 80 minutes we want,” said Jones.

“Wallaby Rugby versus New Zealand Rugby, it’s the most important game of the year.”

The stable nature of the All Blacks selection suggests head coach Ian Foster is confident he has settled on his strongest team at this stage of a World Cup year.

“As the final Rugby Championship test, there is much at stake in this game,” Foster said. “We have learned a lot from two stern tests so far this year and there is huge excitement about playing Australia at this iconic ground.”

Australia XV: Andrew Kellaway, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Carter Gordon, Tate McDermott, Rob Valetini, Tom Hooper, Jed Holloway, Will Skelton, Nick Frost, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Dave Porecki, Angus Bell

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Richie Arnold, Rob Leota, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Izaia Perese