Folau on wing in Wallabies lineup to face Barbarians
SYDNEY (AP) — Israel Folau will switch from fullback to wing in his last match for the Wallabies in 2017, against the Barbarians at Sydney on Saturday.
Folau will not join the Australia squad on its Spring tour to Japan and Britain next month, electing to take time away from rugby and the public spotlight.
He is one of two players who started last weekend’s test victory over the New Zealand All Blacks to be retained in coach Michael Cheika’s starting lineup. The other is Jack Dempsey, who will switch from the blindside to the openside flank where he replaces Michael Hooper.
Scrumhalf Nick Phipps will lead the Wallabies against the Barbarians.
Rugby League convert Karmichael Hunt will return at fullback after an almost three-month absence with an ankle injury.
Folau has experience on the wing, playing his first five tests in that position, while Hunt has played most of his rugby at fullback for Queensland after making his test debut at inside center. He now has the chance to secure the fullback position for Australia’s tests against Wales, England and Scotland.
Saturday’s match, which does not have test status, will offer opportunities for Queensland flyhalf Duncan Paia’aua and Western Force inside center Billy Meakes to make appearances for the Wallabies.
Hooker Stephen Moore has been included on the bench for what will be his last appearance in the Wallabies jersey on Australian soil, while Jordan Uelese will start in the No. 2 jersey.
Lock Rory Arnold and prop Allan Alaalatoa are likely to line up against their brothers, Richie Arnold and Mike Alaalatoa, who have been named in the Barbarians squad coached by former Wallabies coach Alan Jones.
Australia: Karmichael Hunt, Henry Speight, Samu Kerevi, Billy Meakes, Israel Folau, Duncan Paia’aua, Nick Phipps (captain); Lopeti Timani, Jack Dempsey, Ned Hanigan, Lukhan Tui, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Jordan Uelese, Tom Robertson. Replacements: Stephen Moore, Tetera Faulkner, Jermaine Ainsley, Kane Douglas, Ben McCalman, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Izaia Perese.