Quade Cooper to play in first Australia Test for more than four years against South Africa in Rugby Championship | Rugby Union News

The entire 2021 Rugby Championship between New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina is being shown live and exclusively on Sky in the UK and Ireland

Last Updated: 10/09/21 7:24am

Quade Cooper playing for Australia in 2016

Quade Cooper will play his first Test for Australia in more than four years on Sunday against South Africa in the Rugby Championship, live on Sky Sports Mix from 10.55am BST.

The 33-year-old, whose last international start was against Argentina in October 2016, will start at fly-half for his 71st cap in the place of Noah Lolesio, who has worn the No 10 shirt for Australia’s six Tests this year.

Head coach Dave Rennie, whose side have lost their opening two matches in the Rugby Championship, is unable to call upon James O’Connor after injury, while Matt Toomua is no longer considered an option at fly-half.

“We’re basing selections on what we see,” Rennie said ahead of facing the Springboks on Australia’s Gold Coast.

“There’s certainly no panic, we’re trying to grow our game and we think he’s the right man to try and get us around the park.”

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New Zealand-born Cooper left Australia to play in Japan in 2019 and last played for the Wallabies in 2017 against Italy.

He revealed in July his application for Australian citizenship had been denied despite representing the country at an elite level.

“It’s exciting, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be back,” he said.

“I’ve put a lot of work into being a better man each day and that in itself, football aside, has been a great journey. Being a better man has been the focus for the last few years.”

Rennie made two changes in the pack with Angus Bell awarded his first Test start at loosehead prop in and Izack Rodda promoted from the bench to partner Matt Philip in the second row in place of the injured Darcy Swain.

Hooker Feleti Kaitu’u and flanker Rob Leota could make their Test debuts after being named on the bench.

Australia: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Angus Bell

Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Leota, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nic White, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Jordan Petaia

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