October 5, 2017 / 8:25 PM / 17 days ago

Australia unchanged for Pumas test

(Reuters) - Australia coach Michael Cheika named an unchanged side on Thursday for the first time since he took charge in 2014 for Saturday’s closing Rugby Championship test against Argentina in Mendoza.

File photo: Britain Rugby Union - England v Australia - 2016 Old Mutual Wealth Series - Twickenham Stadium, London, England - 3/12/16 Australia head coach Michael Cheika during the warm up Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic

Cheika has kept faith with the team that drew 27-27 with South Africa in Bloemfontein last weekend, their second successive stalemate.

However, Cheika has made changes to the bench with prop Tetera Faulkner coming in and both Ned Hanigan and Tom Robertson dropping out of the matchday squad.

Henry Speight is confirmed as a back on the bench but Marika Koroibete has retained his place in the side on the right wing after a fine first start.

Cheika is hoping his team finish can climb to second place, leap-frogging South Africa if the Springboks lose to champions New Zealand in Cape Town earlier on Saturday.

“We started the first 40 minutes (of the Rugby Championship) really poorly but since then we’ve been more than competitive,” he said, referring to an opening 54-34 defeat by New Zealand in which they were 40-6 behind at halftime.

“Players are improving and we’ve got fitter so we’re competing in games for longer,” he said.

“Of course, I would have liked to have had a couple more wins but we’re looking to improve more before the year is out.”

Team: 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-Talafu Polota-Nau, 1-Scott Sio

Replacements: 16-Stephen Moore, 17-Tetera Faulkner, 18-Allan Alaalatoa, 19-Rob Simmons, 20-Lukham Tui, 21-Nick Phipps, 22-Samu Kerevi, 23-Henry Speight

Reporting by Rex Gowar, editing by Ed Osmond

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