BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Australia have recalled flyhalf Bernard Foley for Saturday’s match against Argentina in Salta, a game they must win to avoid finishing last in the Rugby Championship for the first time since Argentina joined the tournament in 2012.
Foley’s return for his first start since the second Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand in August is one of two changes announced by coach Michael Cheika.
He replaces Kurtley Beale, who moves to inside centre, with Matt Toomua dropping to the bench.
“The playmakers have a really important role in driving everybody else and I think Foley since he has been left out has taken that on board,” Cheika told reporters.
“He took the disappointment on board as well and he didn’t sulk, he got back into training and made sure he tried to improve himself and try and improve the team with that.
“I feel like he’s done that and he deserves the chance to come back in and have a look.”
Hooker Tolu Latu, who has not played since the opening Bledisloe Cup clash in August, is also recalled as one of the nine replacements, Cheika added.
Australia currently sit three points behind Argentina in this year’s Rugby Championship with just one win from five matches. Their opponents have won twice, including a 23-19 win over the Wallabies in Queensland last month.
That defeat stung the Wallabies and Cheika said they were desperate to even the score on Saturday.
“Losing on the Gold Coast hurt us and we’ll be looking to get some of that back on Saturday,” he said.
“What do we need to change? The most important thing is just a single commitment to every play, especially in the forwards.
“In that game they mauled us.”
A win or a draw for the home side would ensure their best ever position in the Rugby Championship, a tournament they joined for the first time in 2012.
Team: 1-Scott Sio, 2-Folau Faingaa, 3-Taniela Tupou, 4-Izack Rodda, 5-Adam Coleman, 6-Ned Hanigan, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 8-David Pocock, 9-Will Genia, 10-Bernard Foley, 11-Marika Koroibete, 12-Kurtley Beale, 13-Reece Hodge, 14-Israel Folau, 15-Dane Haylett-Petty.
Replacement: 16-Tolu Latu, 17-Sekope Kepu, 18-Allan Alaalatoa, 19-Rob Simmons, 20-Rory Arnold, 21-Caleb Timu, 22-Nick Phipps, 23-Matt Toomua, 24-Tom Banks.
Writing by Andrew Downie; editing by Martyn Herman