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Wallabies vs Argentina, live, scores, result, team news, highlights, Michael Hooper

Fraser McCright will wear the Wallabies’ No.7 jersey for the first time since captain Michael Hooper withdrew from the squad 24 hours before the Rugby Championship opener against Michael Cheka’s Los Pumas in Mendoza (5:10am AEST).

The 23-year-old has played twice off the bench against the All Blacks, but after Hooper withdrew citing “mental” struggles for personal reasons, McCreight was moved into a more respectable position.

It is the eighth change to Dave Rennie’s line-up, which has been plagued by injury over the past two months.

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Fraser McCraight will wear the number 7 shirt for the first time since Michael Hooper stepped down due to personal reasons.  Photo: Getty Images
Fraser McCraight will wear the number 7 shirt for the first time since Michael Hooper stepped down due to personal reasons. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Rennie McCreight said it was a “huge opportunity” to prove his worth as he was forced to spend time behind Hooper.

“Yes, that’s a great thing about the Australia A program. He’s had three 80-minute shows, so tuning-wise isn’t an issue. They use the same structures as us,” says Rennie.

“He’s been in our team before so he’ll fit in seamlessly. While it’s disappointing for the Hoops, it’s a great opportunity for Fraser.”

McCreight is one of Australia’s best performers in Super Rugby and is a bowler. But the selectors are concerned about discipline, believing in his desire to go after the ball, he can get on the wrong side of the referee.

The 2019 Junior Wallabies captain, who led his side to the Under-20 World Cup final, will finally get a chance to showcase his skills and his link-up play and fetching ability will be a point of difference for the Wallabies.

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Dave Rennie appointed James Slipper as captain in Michael Hooper’s absence. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Thankfully, the Wallabies have Quade Cooper back at No.10 and his experience and leadership will be essential in the absence of Hooper (personal reasons), tight end Dave Pork (concussion) and center Samu Kerevi (sevens/ACL).

“We’re excited to bring back the Quad,” said Rennie.

“He just has a good understanding of the game. Talking about small details like who we tried to seat and how we tried to make room for others. His ability to share that and pass it on to other players is great, he’s very happy to sit in front of the computer and share his knowledge, and it’s been great for all of our young guys.

Rennie, by his own admission, has taken a bit of a gamble with a six-forward, two-back bench split, but says the Walleyes are looking to attack the Cheka Pumas physically.

“You can always say it’s a bit of a risk because you lose your back first and you’re under a bit of stress, but we felt that the front-line fight was going to be very important,” he said. .

“They are a good side. They will truly be fighters.

We have real guys who can change the game on the bench and get us going forward and give us a big job level defensively.

“We tossed (the bench configuration) around a bit before committing to it.

“Jade (Holloway) had a significant calf tear (in June), so we’re not going to see him go a lot of minutes. So a guy like Robbie Liotta on the bench and still Pete Samu gives us some flexibility there. And if we get into a bit of a heat, we’ll get rid of the wide because the ‘pistol’ is faster than most of our backs.

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Argentina’s Australian coach, Michael Cheka, will be directly in charge when they face the Welshmen for the first time as a head coach. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

The Welshmen have lost five of their last six Tests and suffered a 2-1 series defeat against Eddie Jones’ England.

Meanwhile, Cheka led the Pumas to a 2-1 series win over Scotland in Australia’s first series in charge.

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Cheka, who spent two seasons working with Mario Ledesma before taking charge earlier this year, has named a strong and physical squad that is running the ball more than ever before.

“This is a good side, probably as strong as they’ve ever been on the park,” Rennie said.

“Of course we know about the enemy, we’ve had the kids do a little research to find out what’s coming. If they win the series against Scotland, it’s a good side that will take confidence.”

Wallabies (15-1) Tom Wright, Jordan Petaya, Len Ikitau, Adan Paysamy, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nick White, Rob Valetini, Fraser McCreight, Jed Holloway, Matt Phillip, Darcy Swain, Alan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper (c)

Reservations Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon, Tanila Tupu, Nick Frost, Rob Liotta, Pete Samu, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge.

PUMAS (15-1) Juan Cruz Malia, James Lavanini, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fountain, Emiliano Boffelli, James Carreras, Tomas Cubelli, Pablo Matera, Marcos Kramer, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Germano, Francisco Gomez Codela, Julian Montoya (c) Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Reservations Agustin Creevy, Thomas Gallo, Joel Sclevy, Santiago Grodona, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Thomas Albornoz, Matthias Moroni.

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