Head coach Ewen McKenzie has dropped stand-in captain Will Genia ahead of the Wallabies’ must win game against Argentina this weekend. Nic White comes in to partner Quade Cooper at halfback, while the captaincy is taken over by Ben Mowen, who fills that role at the Brumbies. He becomes the 80th player to captain the national side, in what will be only his seventh test.
The other change to the starting line-up sees Ben Alexander regain his spot at tighthead prop, while lock Sitaleki Timani and outside back Tevita Kuridrani come onto the bench.
McKenzie said: “The fact that Will has captained his country shows what high regard we hold him in and while he is naturally disappointed I also know how competitive he is and I’ve got no doubts he will train himself to a standstill to bounce back as a better player.
“We’ve spoken about what areas we believe he can continue to improve and evolve his game and he was receptive to going back and addressing those things. In the end, it wasn’t an easy decision because he is undoubtedly a world class player.
“However, we also feel Nic has earned an opportunity to start and will add his own uniqueness and point of difference to how we want to play this game. Nic has had a great season with the Brumbies and has brought his own brand of energy and hard work to the Wallaby group. We’ve all been impressed by the contributions he has made to the team and in training and we now look forward to seeing him bring his skills to the fore of the pressure cooker on Saturday night.”
Australia team to play Argentina, Patersons Stadium, Perth, Sat 18.05 (local time)
15 Israel Folau, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam-Ashley Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.