Rugby News

UPDATE 1-Rugby-Australia drop Fainga'a, Samu for second Bledisloe Cup test

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WELLINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Australia coach Dave Rennie has dropped number eight Pete Samu in a back row reshuffle for Sunday’s second Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand while hooker Folau Fainga’a has also been axed after struggling with his lineout throwing in Wellington.

Brandon Paenga-Amosa will win his fifth cap in the middle of the front row while Ned Hanigan has been named to start at blindside flanker, shifting rookie Harry Wilson to number eight.

Fainga’a’s failure to hit his lineout targets early in last weekend’s thrilling 16-16 draw cost the Wallabies points and Rennie said he was a “casualty” of that.

“Obviously the lineout didn’t function as well last week,” the New Zealander told reporters on Friday.

“We’ve had a big focus on earning the right to play.”

Paenga-Amosa edges out reserve hooker Jordan Uelese for the Eden Park match, despite his own throwing troubles for the Queensland Reds during Super Rugby AU.

“He’s certainly a very strong scrummager as well, Brandon, a good athlete and we think he’s the right man for the job this weekend,” said Rennie.

While Samu had some decent carries in Wellington, Rennie said he had not met standards, adding that Hanigan would help stiffen the lineout.

“He’s got a good skill-set and provides a point of difference for us at six,” he said.

There was no change to a backline that impressed in Wellington but centre Jordan Petaia was named on the bench after recovering from a hip flexor injury, tipping out uncapped flyhalf Noah Lolesio.

Reds skipper Liam Wright replaces reserve backrower Rob Valetini.

Australia have not won at Eden Park since 1986 and are expecting a backlash from Ian Foster’s All Blacks, who have endured a week of criticism from home media.

“You play the All Blacks and you’re a couple of cogs off, you get hammered -- as we’ve seen with a number of the best sides in the world,” said Rennie.

“We need to make sure that we’re stepping up our game and can deal with the intensity.”

Team: 15-Tom Banks, 14-Filipo Daugunu, 13-Hunter Paisami, 12-Matt Toomua, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-James O’Connor, 9-Nic White, 8-Harry Wilson, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6-Ned Hanigan, 5-Matt Philip, 4-Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3-Taniela Tupou, 2-Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1-James Slipper

Replacements: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-Scott Sio, 18-Allan Alaalatoa, 19-Rob Simmons, 20-Liam Wright, 21-Jake Gordon, 22-Jordan Petaia, 23-Reece Hodge

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney and Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford