BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) – Mercurial fly-half Quade Cooper was among the reserves named Tuesday for the embattled Wallabies with Adam Ashley-Cooper chosen for his 100th Test against the All Blacks in this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup clash.
Under-fire coach Ewen McKenzie made two changes to his starting line-up with Christian Leali’ifano at inside centre and Rob Simmons returning at lock for a team that lost 21-17 to Argentina on October 3.
Leali’ifano replaces the injured Matt Toomua while Simmons displaces James Horwill from the beaten side in Mendoza.
Cooper has not played for Australia this year after suffering a shoulder injury in May, when he lost his place to Bernard Foley.
The Queensland Reds playmaker will make his return via the bench with Foley installed as the first-choice number 10.
Ashley-Cooper will become the sixth player in Australian rugby history to reach the 100-Test milestone in Saturday’s final Bledisloe Cup showdown in Brisbane against a New Zealand team that has already retained the trophy.
He joins George Gregan (139 caps), Nathan Sharpe (116), George Smith (111), Stephen Larkham (102) and David Campese (101) as Wallaby centurions.
McKenzie also backed Leali’ifano and Cooper to make a positive return.
McKenzie has had a tumultuous week dealing with the fall-out of the Kurtley Beale text scandal which led to the resignation of team business manager Di Patston.