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Cheika names Hooper and Pocock in Wallabies XV for All Blacks showdown

Australia and New Zealand meet in Sydney in a clash that will decide the 2015 Rugby Championship winners.

Wallaby Michael Hooper
Wallaby Michael Hooper
Image: Cameron Spencer

MICHAEL HOOPER AND David Pocock will start for Australia in the Rugby Championship decider against New Zealand on Saturday.

Michael Cheika named the duo in his starting line-up on Thursday, and the pair will run on together in a Test for the first time.

Hooper returns at openside flanker and Pocock is at number eight for the clash at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

“Australian rugby is very fortunate to have some quality flankers competing for the number seven jumper,” Cheika said in a statement.

“Both players have been in outstanding form for club and country this season and have shown their class in sharing the spot in the first two matches. They now have an opportunity to start a Test together which they are very excited about.”

Scott Sio will make his run-on debut, Matt Giteau returns from injury and Dean Mumm replaces Will Skelton in the starting side.

Drew Mitchell is also in the XV, with the Wallabies and All Blacks - who are both locked on nine points - fighting for the championship.

The encounter also acts as the Bledisloe Cup opener and that is a trophy New Zealand have held since 2003.

The All Blacks have named a debutant on the right wing in Nehe Milner-Skudder, and the 24-year-old is one of several changes.

Julian Savea returns for his first Test of this year, while Sonny Bill Williams and Dan Carter also start.

Both teams recorded wins on July 25, with the Wallabies finishing strongly against Argentina to win 34-9 and the All Blacks edging South Africa 27-20.

With the Rugby World Cup starting next month, Cheika’s side get an opportunity to gauge just where they are at.

Australia (v New Zealand):

15. Israel Folau
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
13. Tevita Kuridrani
12. Matt Giteau
11. Drew Mitchell
10. Bernard Foley
9. Nick Phipps

1. Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore (captain)
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Dean Mumm
5. James Horwill
6. Scott Fardy
7. Michael Hooper
8. David Pocock

Replacements:

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
17. James Slipper
18. Greg Holmes
19. Will Skelton
20. Ben McCalman
21. Nic White
22. Matt Toomua
23. Kurtley Beale

All Blacks hand debut to Super Rugby sensation Nehe Milner-Skudder

Here’s the 12 key GAA fixtures to keep an eye on this week

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