SYDNEY- Australia coach Michael Cheika has bolstered his lineout with the selection of Lukhan Tui at blindside flanker for the series-deciding third test against Ireland in Sydney on Saturday.
The inclusion of Tui, who has played three of his six tests at lock, sees David Pocock shift from the number six jersey back to number eight, with Caleb Timu dropping out of the 23-man match day squad altogether.
Captain Michael Hooper remains as openside flanker.
Lock Adam Coleman has also been retained despite being forced off last week by a head clash with team mate Israel Folau which Cheika initially thought had resulted in a fractured cheekbone or eye socket.
Blindside flanker Ned Hanigan has been brought back into the replacements bench after recovering from a knee injury, with Pete Samu also providing cover in the loose forwards.
Nick Phipps has been promoted from the bench to replace the injured Will Genia, who broke his right arm in last week’s 26-21 loss in Melbourne.
ACT Brumbies scrumhalf Joe Powell has come onto the bench for Cheika’s side, which has been relatively settled during the series as the coach looks to gel some combinations ahead of next year’s World Cup in Japan.
Cheika had selected an unchanged side for the second test and made only two changes, one of which was enforced with Genia’s injury, for the decider in Sydney.
Several underperforming players may be getting an opportunity to show the coach they should remain in his plans.
Rookie hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa has had issues finding his jumpers in the lineout while centre Samu Kerevi has barely had any impact in either of the first two tests.
Team: 15-Israel Folau, 14-Dane Haylett-Petty, 13-Samu Kerevi, 12-Kurtley Beale, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Nick Phipps, 8-David Pocock, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6-Lukhan Tui, 5-Adam Coleman, 4-Izack Rodda, 3-Sekope Kepu, 2-Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1-Scott Sio
Replacements: 16-Tolu Latu, 17-Tom Robertson, 18-Taniela Tupou, 19-Rob Simmons, 20-Ned Hanigan, 21-Pete Samu, 22-Joe Powell, 23-Reece Hodge.- Reuters