Folau back for Wallabies, but with a twist
ISRAEL Folau is fit again but is making a surprise shift to the wing for Saturday night's Test in a clear sign that the Wallabies are trying everything to find their peak combination.
It will be the first time since the opening five Tests of the Folau career in 2013 that he has started on the wing because his 61 Tests since have all seen him wear the No. 15 jersey.
Dane Haylett-Petty will start at fullback against the dangerous Argentinians at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast while the return of key backrower David Pocock from neck troubles is excellent news for the pack.
The Folau switch needs to be looked at on many levels.
It is rich reward for Haylett-Petty's fine play in his specialist position when filling in for Folau against the All Blacks and South Africa while Australia's top weapon was recovering from a twisted ankle.
It is also an assessment that the Wallabies need more explosive finishing on the wings.
As solid as the progress of youngster Jack Maddocks has been, he's not really a wing specialist. On two occasions against South Africa last weekend, Folau's extra power and nous to torpedo at the stripe may have converted Maddocks' chances into extra tries.
That's no knock on Maddocks or Haylett-Petty when he plays on the wing but Folau is a world class try-grabber as a finisher.
Folau will clearly spend plenty of time catching balls in the backfield as normal and will have a licence to roam.
What the Wallabies must do is get him the ball because that was the principle reason for the shift from wing to fullback in the first place.
Lock Adam Coleman will return off the bench after missing last weekend's Test against the Springboks to be at the birth of his daughter. Tiny Fia arrived last Sunday and Coleman was back in training action today.
Veteran prop Sekope Kepu returns on the bench for his 97th Test.
WALLABIES TEAM TO PLAY ARGENTINA AT CBUS SUPER STADIUM, GOLD COAST ON SATURDAY, 8.00PM AEST
1. Scott Sio (48 Tests)
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (85 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (26 Tests)
4. Rory Arnold (16 Tests)
5. Izack Rodda (10 Tests)
6. Lukhan Tui (10 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (85 Tests)
8. David Pocock (72 Tests)
9. Will Genia (93 Tests)
10. Kurtley Beale (77 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (14 Tests)
12. Matt Toomua (36 Tests)
13. Reece Hodge (30 Tests)
14. Israel Folau (66 Tests)
15. Dane Haylett-Petty (24 Tests)
16. Folau Faingaa (2 Tests)
17. Sekope Kepu (96 Tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (5 Tests)
19. Adam Coleman (25 Tests)
20. Pete Samu (6 Tests)
21. Nick Phipps (66 Tests)
22. Bernard Foley (61 Tests)
23. Jack Maddocks (3 Tests)
ARGENTINA CHANGE THREE FOR WALLABIES CLASH
Argentina have made three changes for their clash with the Wallabies on Saturday, with Gonzalo Bertranou returning at scrum-half as they look to bounce back from defeat to the All Blacks last weekend.
The Pumas went down 46-24 to New Zealand in Nelson and while it was a spirited performance their scrum was "torn apart", according to coach Mario Ledesma, himself a former hooker.
In a bid to fix their problems for the Gold Coast Test, prop Santiago Medrano replaces Garcia Botta and blindside flanker Pablo Matera returns to the starting line-up in place of Tomas Lezana.
After resting last weekend, Bertranou is back at scrum-half with Martin Landajo relegated to the bench.
The Pumas have lost 15 of their last 16 Tests against Australia, but after beating South Africa last month there is a belief that the miserable run can be brought to an end.
"Why not?" said Ledesma, a former Wallabies forwards coach who is a close friend of his Australian counterpart Michael Cheika.
"Even though we lost by 20 points (against the All Blacks), I think there's a lot of positives from the game."
Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Ramiro Moyano; Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou; Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera; Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti; Santiago Medrano, Agustin Creevy (capt), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Julian Montoya, Santiago Garcia Botta, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Matias Alemanno, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Martin Landajo, Bautista Ezcurra, Juan Cruz Mallia.
- with AAP