Tate McDermott to partner Quade Cooper in the halves for Sunday's showdown against South Africa

Fri, 10/09/2021, 02:45 am
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit

Queensland Reds livewire Tate McDermott will form a new Australian halves pairing this weekend with Quade Cooper named to make his return to the Test arena for Sunday's Rugby Championship clash on the Gold Coast.


McDermott is the only currently contracted Reds player in the starting XV with championship-winning Queensland team-mates Taniela Tupou and Jordan Petaia both selected as finishers for the match at Cbus Super Stadium. 

Cooper's last Test was more than four years ago, when he ran out against Italy at Suncorp Stadium in June 2017. The mercurial flyhalf has a strong record against the Springboks, boasting nine wins against the reigning world champions over his 70-Test career.

The match will also see skipper Michael Hooper equal George Gregan’s record for most Tests as Wallabies captain, when he leads the side out for the 59th time on Sunday. 

In his 112th Test, it will also see Hooper overtake George Smith as the fifth most capped Wallaby of all time

The fixture will also be the starting debut for Angus Bell, the youngest member of the squad as he joins hooker Folau Fainga’a and tighthead prop Allan Alaalatoa in the front row, with the latter set to bring up his 50th appearance for the Wallabies.

After returning the Test side via the pine last week, Izack Rodda earns a starting berth in the second row alongside Matt Philip.

The backrow remains unchanged for the third consecutive Test with blindside flanker Lachlan Swinton and no.8 Rob Valetini joining Hooper, who will fill the familiar number seven jersey.

With a new partnership in the halves, the midfield combination remains the same as Samu Kerevi and Len Ikitau earn another opportunity together.

A settled back three sees Marika Koroibete on the right wing, Andrew Kellaway on the left edge and Tom Banks at fullback.

Western Force hooker Feleti Kaitu’u is one of two potential debutants named on the bench. Gold Coast local James Slipper will play his 107th Test in front of his family and friends with Taniela Tupou set to be unleashed as the reserve tighthead prop.

Melbourne-born Rob Leota is the second potential debutant in the squad, with Brumbies backrower Pete Samu retaining his spot in the gameday 23 after an impressive impact in Perth last weekend.

Nic White will bring experience late in the game at scrumhalf while Reece Hodge will also play his 50th Test for Australia on Sunday night.  The electric Jordan Petaia rounds out the gameday 23.

Australia has won eight of their last 10 matches against the Springboks at home, but the two sides have never met at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast in the storied 88 year playing history. 

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “We’re thrilled for Quade that he’s earned another opportunity to pull on the gold jersey for his country.”

“He’s had a really positive impact since joining the group, put pressure on us as selectors and he’s excited to get out there and perform on Sunday night.

“The match is also a huge occasion for our leader Michael Hooper. He’s been in phenomenal form and to equal George Gregan’s record as the most Tests as captain of Australia is a testament to his leadership and resilience.

“We also can’t overlook Allan and Reece who will bring up 50 Tests for their country, another outstanding achievement for two ultimate professionals who leave it all on the field every time they wear the jersey.”

Every Wallabies Test will be ad-free, live and on-demand with extended coverage on Stan Sport. At the same time, every home Wallabies Test will also be live, free-to-air on the Nine Network.

Tickets for the eToro Rugby Championship are available via wallabies.rugby

Wallabies team to play South Africa at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast on Sunday 12 September, 8:05pm AEST

1. Angus Bell (8 Tests)
2. Folau Fainga’a (17 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (49 Tests)
4. Izack Rodda (26 Tests)
5. Matt Philip (15 Tests)
6. Lachlan Swinton (4 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (111 Tests)
8. Rob Valetini (10 Tests)
9. Tate McDermott (8 Tests)
10. Quade Cooper (70 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (39 Tests)
12. Samu Kerevi (34 Tests)
13. Len Ikitau (5 Tests)
14. Andrew Kellaway (5 Tests)
15. Tom Banks (17 Tests)

16. Feleti Kaitu’u*
17. James Slipper (106 Tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (31 Tests)
19. Rob Leota*
20. Pete Samu (11 Tests)
21. Nic White (38 Tests)
22. Reece Hodge (49 Tests)
23. Jordan Petaia (10 Tests)

*denotes uncapped

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