Wellington – Australia flyhalf Matt Toomua and fullback Jesse Mogg have been given a second chance to prove themselves against the All Blacks after being named in the Wallabies side to play New Zealand in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.
Toomua made his debut last week in the 47-29 loss in Sydney and, while he looked more than able to handle the pressure of international rugby, he failed to really spark his backline against a swarming All Blacks defence.
Mogg, playing his second Test, was found wanting defensively and his powerful kicking game failed him at the Olympic Stadium but coach Ewen McKenzie decided to give the attacking 24-year-old a chance at redemption at Wellington Regional Stadium on Saturday.
The only change to the starting line-up was Scott Fardy, who made his test debut off the bench in Sydney, coming in at blindside flanker to replace Hugh McMeniman, who was ruled out with a lingering shoulder problem.
“You can't fudge experience and I know this group learned a great deal from last week and will be much better for the experience on Saturday,” McKenzie said.
“We made a decision to reward players that were in form and who we believed were capable of executing what we are trying to achieve as a group.
“That doesn't change overnight or following one losing result.”
“It's always important to be conscious of finding a balance between selecting experience against youth but the only way to develop that experience is by providing opportunities to players and hoping they take them.”
Australia: 15-Jesse Mogg, 14-Israel Folau, 13-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12-Christian Leali'ifano, 11-James O'Connor, 10-Matt Toomua, 9-Will Genia, 8-Ben Mowen, 7-Michael Hooper, 6-Scott Fardy, 5-James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons, 3-Ben Alexander, 2-Stephen Moore, 1-James Slipper. Replacements: 16-Saia Faingaa, 17-Scott Sio, 18-Sekope Kepu, 19-Kane Douglas, 20-Liam Gill, 21-Nic White, 22-Quade Cooper, 23-Tevita Kuridrani – Reuters