Stephen Moore is set to become the most capped hooker in Australian Test history, while Dominic Shipperley stands poised to be Australia’s newest Wallaby. Both selections are features of the Qantas Wallabies side for Saturday night’s Test in The Rugby Championship against the Springboks in Perth announced today.
Moore, who tied previous record holder Jeremy Paul’s tally of 72 Test appearances last month in Auckland, will at Paterson’s Stadium take sole ownership of the title as Australia’s leading hooker.
The 29-year-old, who earlier in the year became just the 24th Australian to play 100 Fx Pro Super Rugby matches, made his debut against Samoa at Sydney in 2005.
He raised 50 Test appearances on the historic night in Bloemfontein three seasons ago when the Qantas Wallabies recorded a dramatic 41-39 victory over South Africa to reclaim the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate.
That trophy, which Australia can retain if it achieves a record fifth win over South Africa in succession this weekend, will provide the first taste of Test rugby for the 21-year-old Shipperley, who steps up after two impressive seasons where he has achieved an excellent strike-rate patrolling the backline flanks for the Queensland Reds.
The scorer of 10 tries from just 24 appearances in Fx Pro Super Rugby, Shipperley has previously represented Australia in Schools, Under-20 and Sevens.
Long groomed as a potential star of the future, the Nudgee College (Brisbane) product was a member of the Australian Schools side when it recorded its maiden win on New Zealand soil in the 2008 trans-Tasman Schoolboys Test.
Shipperley also scored a hat-trick for the Under-20s when the side beat South Africa in the semi-finals of the 2010 Under-20 World Cup, to reach Australia’s maiden final at that event.
Other features of the line-up named for Australia’s third match of The Rugby Championship see No 8 Radike Samo return to the Test starting pack for the first time this year, with Scott Higginbotham relocating to the bench.
With the versatile Adam Ashley-Cooper reverting to centre for the 30th time in his now 69-Test career, Kurtley Beale is also back in the starting line-up, returning to fullback after he played from the bench last time out.
Last term’s John Eales Medal winner who will play his 28th Test, 22 of which will have been from fullback, supplied the after-the-siren penalty goal from near halfway which clinched Australia’s epic win on the South African high veldt in 2010.
That win kicked off the Wallabies’ current record-equalling four-game winning streak against South Africa, which was continued at last year’s Rugby World Cup by a nail-biting 11-9 success which eliminated the defending champions from the tournament.
Such has been the impact of injuries and unavailability in the time since; just eight of the players who started that match in Wellington will reappear in Saturday night’s starting XV.
Six of the players selected today – Beale, Ashley-Cooper, Cooper, Genia, Alexander and Moore - have started in all four of the wins achieved by Australia through the current run.
The Australian tight five is unchanged from as it last appeared against the All Blacks although Tatafu Polota Nau, who was named at hooker for the Eden Park Test but later withdrew because of injury, has returned via the bench.
There is also a change amongst the backline reinforcements, with Mike Harris reintroduced after he got through 80 minutes of club play in Brisbane last weekend.
The first-year Wallaby came from the bench during his most recent Test match outing, which was just the second of his career, at Melbourne in June, where he kicked a penalty goal in the final act of the match to secure Australia’s series victory in the Castrol EDGE Wales Tour.
The Queensland Reds flyhalf/inside centre will offer an additional goal-kicking option backing up the in-form boot of Berrick Barnes.
The Qantas Wallabies team to play South Africa in The Rugby Championship and Mandela Challenge Plate Test at Paterson’s Stadium in Perth (kick-off: 6pm AWST, 8pm AEST) is:
15. Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels)
14. Dominic Shipperley (Queensland Reds)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
12. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs)
11. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)
10. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds, captain)
8. Radike Samo (Queensland Reds)
7. Michael Hooper (Brumbies)
6. Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force)
4. Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs)
3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
Run on Reserves:
16. Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs)
17. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
18. Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds)
19. Liam Gill (Queensland Reds)
20. Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels)
21. Mike Harris (Queensland Reds)
22. Anthony Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)