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Wallabies vs Argentina, The Rugby Championship 2022, news, team, Los Pumas, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Quade Cooper injury

Dave Rennie has turned to James O’Connor to fill the void left by Quaid Cooper, one of four changes to face Los Pumas in the second leg of their tour of Argentina.

The Rugby Championship trial against Argentina will play a major role in the 32-year-old’s career, with his reputation on the line as the Wolves try to settle on a playmaker heading into next year’s World Cup.

Time is running out.

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In 12 months’ time Rennie will name his World Cup squad and O’Connor’s place is now under the microscope, having finished the tournament again 14 months ago.

Rennie turned to the Reds player for two reasons – experience and leadership – but he could also learn more about the playmaker.

O’Connor’s stock has fallen since his second-half cameo in Brisbane when he struggled for position at fullback against England a month ago.

Now, having spent the last two months fine-tuning his skills in the training paddock, he gets a chance to prove his early form as Noah Lolesio started all three Tests against England but was again left out.

Just like last year’s Spring Tour, which started without Cooper, Samu Kerevi will not have an inside lane. He will also be without his Reds teammate Hunter Paysamy, who, as reported, will miss the test due to stress.

In his place Lalakai Foketi will start for the first time, Ire Simon will be included on the bench.

While Simon has had a good season with the Brumbies, the center with France is another unusual decision as he will not be available for the Welshmen next year and will only cover the midfield. Suliasi Vunivalu and Lolesio, who both re-signed with Rugby Australia, will have to scratch their heads after being separated again.

Elsewhere, Tanila Tupu will start up front in the absence of Alan Alalato (personal reasons), while Pon Faamausili is in line to make his debut from the bench.

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Japan-bound Rory Arnold will start for the first time since last year’s end-of-season spring tour and will come in for Matt Phillips.

Tate McDermott – a live wire halfback – is a study of Nick White’s roots.

The Wallis haven’t won the Rugby Championship since 2015 and could go a long way to preserving their chances of silverware if they knock out Michael Cheka’s Pumas for the second week in a row.

Following the home Test against the Springboks, it’s a chance the Wallabies can afford to slip up.

Wallabies team

1. James Slipper (c) (118 attempts)

2. Sailing (29 attempts)

3. Daniel Tupu (41 tries)

4. Rory Arnold (29 tries)

5. Darcy Swain (12 tries)

6. Jade Holloway (1 Test)

7. Fraser McCreight (3 tries)

8. Rob Valletini (22 tries)

9. Nick White (51 attempts)

10. James O’Connor (63 tries)

11. Marika Koroibete (46 attempts)

12. Lalakai Foketi (1 challenge)

13. Len Ikitau (16 tries)

14. Jordan Petaya (19 tries)

15. Tom Wright (13 tries)


16. Lachlan Lonergan (5 tries)

17. Matt Gibbon (1 Test)

18. Fixed Bonds*

19. Nick Frost (3 tries)

20. Pete Samu (23 attempts)

21. Tate McDermott (16 tries)

22. Simon’s Wrath (2 Tests)

23. Reece Hodge (56 attempts)

* Shows unpacked

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