Ex-Wallabies skipper James Horwill will celebrate his 50th game for Australia against France in Melbourne on Saturday night after being named to start in a squad boasting three potential debutants.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie was forced to change a winning formula after hooker Stephen Moore (knee), lock Sam Carter (ankle) and back-rower Wycliff Palu (ankle) sustained injuries in last weekend’s 50-23 first Test triumph in Brisbane.
Horwill is in the run-on line-up for Carter, NSW Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau replaces Moore and Western Force workhorse Ben McCalman slots in at No.8 for Palu.
Palu – who was injured in his 50th game for Australia – is expected to return for the series finale in Sydney on June 21.
As expected Polota-Nau is starting hooker for the Etihad Stadium clash after a devastating 75 minute performance off the bench in the first Test.
Western Force hooker Nathan Charles and Melbourne Rebels pair Laurie Weeks and Luke Jones are in line to make their Test debuts after being chosen on the bench.
“It’s disappointing to lose three key forwards through injury, but in Tatafu, James and Ben, we’re bringing in a collective 126 games of international Test experience,” McKenzie said.
“They understand what Test rugby is all about and will be determined to make the most of the opportunities they’re being given.
“A special mention must be made of James, who plays his milestone 50th game for Australia this week.
“I’ve seen the many contributions he’s made to rugby in this country over a long period and I couldn’t be more pleased to be part of his milestone game on Saturday night.
Wallabies second Test squad: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Nick Cummins, Bernard Foley, Nic White; Ben McCalman, Michael Hooper (capt), Scott Fardy, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper. Bench: Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan, Laurie Weeks, Luke Jones, Scott Higginbotham, Nick Phipps, Kurtley Beale, Pat McCabe.