MENDOZA – Australia coach Michael Cheika has named an unchanged run-on team for the first time since being appointed three years ago.
The starting side in a 27-27 Rugby Championship draw with South Africa last Saturday has been retained for a final-round fixture against Argentina in Mendoza Saturday.
“Wow,” said Cheika when told by reporters that he had picked the same run-on line-up in consecutive Tests for the first time.
Explaining why he had to make constant changes, the coach said: “You are always being affected by injuries, and sometimes you try new combinations.”
Rugby League convert Marika Koroibete is among those Cheika has kept faith with after the winger scored two tries in his first start for the Wallabies.
“He deserved another opportunity because he did a lot of good things in South Africa,” said Cheika.
“Marika needs to polish his positional play, but I thought he did more than enough to earn another selection.”
There are two changes among the replacements, with Australia opting for a five forwards/three backs split compared with a six/two divide in South Africa.
Tetera Faulkner comes on to the bench in place of fellow prop Tom Robertson, and winger Henry Speight is promoted at the expense of loose forward Ned Hanigan.
Flanker Michael Hooper skippers a side that will finish second if they win in Mendoza and South Africa lose at home to champions New Zealand.
Australia defeated Argentina 45-20 in Canberra last month on the back of a strong second-half showing.
15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.
Bench: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Henry Speight.