Wallabies coach Rennie shuffles pack for Bledisloe II
Auckland (AFP) –
Australia coach Dave Rennie has made two changes to his starting line-up to face New Zealand in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland on Sunday.
Rennie largely kept faith with the players who earned a thrilling 16-16 draw with the All Blacks in Wellington but dropped number eight Pete Samu and hooker Folau Fainga'a in a bid to strengthen his forward pack.
Fainga'a struggled with a misfiring lineout throw in Wellington, while Samu failed to exert the dominance the Wallabies wanted at the breakdown.
Ned Hanigan comes into the back row in Samu's absence and Brandon Paenga-Amosa replaces Fainga'a.
Both Hanigan and Paenga-Amosa last played for the Wallabies in 2018 before being discarded by Rennie's predecessor Michael Cheika.
Star outside back Jordan Petaia and Queensland Reds flanker Liam Wright were named on the bench, edging out Noah Lolesio and Rob Valenti respectively.
The Wallabies went into the Wellington match as underdogs but came within the width of a goalpost of recording a major upset to mark Rennie's first match in charge.
New Zealander Rennie said the excitement the performance had generated among fans had given the Wallabies a boost as they prepare to play at Eden Park, a venue where they have not won since 1986.
"We've had massive support from back home and as a team we definitely feel that and it's something we'll draw on Sunday afternoon," he said.
The Australians were thrashed 36-0 in their last appearance at the ground last year.
That match was Wright's Test debut and he will be keen to erase the painful memories of Eden Park if Rennie gives him a run from the bench on Sunday.
Rennie said his players were excited, rather than daunted, at the blockbuster fixture.
"We know that New Zealand will step it up another level this weekend, we're excited by the challenge ahead," he said.
Tom Banks; Filipo Daugunu, Hunter Paisami, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete; James O'Connor, Nic White; Harry Wilson, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan; Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto; Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper
Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Liam Wright, Jake Gordon, Jordan Petaia, Reece Hodge
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