Rugby Championship: Matt Toomua to make Australia debut

Last Updated: 17/08/13 11:03am

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Matt Toomua: First Australia start for fly-half

Matt Toomua: First Australia start for fly-half

Sky Bet

ACT Brumbies fly-half Matt Toomua will make his debut for Australia in Saturday's opening Rugby Championship match against New Zealand at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

Toomua has been preferred to Quade Cooper for the No 10 shirt by new Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie for the Bledisloe Cup encounter.

Cooper, who played under McKenzie for the Queensland Reds, was overlooked by former Australia coach Robbie Deans in the series against the British and Irish Lions and had been tipped for a recall to the starting XV against the All Blacks.

However he has had to settle for a place on the bench.

"Quade was disappointed, as was every player not picked," said McKenzie.

"That's the way it is, that's the nature of the business. We've picked the guys who are doing what we want and are best-suited to what we want to do."

Uncapped

Toomua is one of five uncapped players from the ACT Brumbies in the matchday 23 but the only one to start, with scrum-half Nic White, centre Tevita Kuridrani, versatile lock/loose forward Scott Fardy and prop Scott Sio all on the bench.

Western Force's Hugh McMeniman has also been included in the side at blindside flanker, earning a recall to win his 22nd cap after nearly five years in the international wilderness.

"I'm just really excited to be back in the Wallabies squad," said McMeniman. "There's a lot of different guys now but they're a really enthusiastic bunch of guys."

Israel Folau will start his fourth Test match on the wing, while Jesse Mogg, one of six Brumbies players in the starting line-up, has been named at full-back.

Australia: Mogg, Folau, Ashley-Cooper, Leali'ifano, O'Connor, Toomua, Genia, Mowen, Hooper, McMeniman, Horwill (capt), Simmons, Alexander, Moore, Slipper.
Replacements: Fainga'a, Sio, Kepu, Fardy, Gill, White, Cooper, Kuridrani.

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