Michael Hooper has withdrawn from the Wallabies team

Australia Rugby Championship Squad 2022

James O’Connor and Rory Arnold will start their first Tests of the year on Saturday as they line up for the Wallabies against Argentina in the Rugby Championship.

Australia beat the Pumas 41-26 in their opening match of the tournament and meet again in San Juan on Saturday, with O’Connor at fly-half and Arnold at lock.

Elsewhere, Taniela Tupou comes in at tighthead, Lalakai Foketi starts at inside-centre and James Slipper remains as captain in the absence of Michael Hooper.

Rebels prop Pone Fa’amausili is also in line to win his first cap having been named amongst the replacements.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “Argentina and their supporters will be expecting a response this weekend and we’ll need to increase our physicality and accuracy to get another positive result in San Juan.”

Australia team to play Argentina – Saturday 13 August

Tom Wright; Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete; James O’Connor, Nic White; James Slipper (captain), Folau Fainga’a, Taniela Tupou, Rory Arnold, Darcy Swain, Jed Holloway, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon, Pone Fa’amausili, Nick Frost, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Irae Simone Reece Hodge.

Australia team to play Argentina – Saturday 6 August

Tom Wright; Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Marika Koroibete; Quade Cooper, Nic White; James Slipper (captain), Folau Fainga’a, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Matt Philip, Jed Holloway, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon, Taniela Tupou, Nick Frost, Rob Leota, Pete Samu, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge.

Michael Hooper withdraws from Australia squad

Michael Hooper has withdrawn from the Wallabies team to face Argentina in the opening round of the Rugby Championship and is returning to Australia.

The long-time Wallabies captain said he was not in the right “mindset” at present to lead the team and represent his country.

Hooper said: “While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time.

“My whole career I’ve looked to put the team first and I don’t feel I am able to fulfill my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie added: “Michael’s one of the most professional and impressive men I’ve coached I know this has been a difficult decision for him.

“He’s shown true courage by acknowledging where he is at and acting on it. We will support him in any way we can.”

Australia Rugby Championship Squad 2022

There are four uncapped players in Australia’s 36-player squad for the opening Rugby Championship games against the Pumas in Argentina in early August.

Dave Rennie has selected Reds full-back Jock Campbell, versatile Waratahs forward Jed Holloway, and Rebels props Matt Gibbon and Pone Fa’amausili.

Lock Rory Arnold also comes into the Wallabies squad for the first time this year as one of the three overseas-based player picks permitted, with Quade Cooper and Marika Koroibete the others. But they are without the likes of Cadeyrn Neville, Andrew Kellaway and Izaia Perese due to injury.

The Wallabies go into the back-to-back Tests against the Pumas – now coached by former Australia coach Michael Cheika – on the back of a 2-1 series defeat by England.

Rennie said: “We were massively disappointed but we’re only three matches into a 14-Test season so we need to take the lessons on board quickly and learn from them.

“We’re well aware of how tough the challenge is of playing Argentina two weeks in a row on their home soil and they’ll be full of confidence after their series win over Scotland.”

(age, team)

Forwards

Allan Alaalatoa (28, Brumbies)

Rory Arnold (32, TBC)

Pone Fa’amausili (25, Melbourne Rebels)

Folau Fainga’a (27, Brumbies)

Nick Frost (22, Brumbies)

Matt Gibbon (27, Melbourne Rebels)

Michael Hooper (captain, 30, NSW Waratahs)

Jed Holloway (29, NSW Waratahs)

Rob Leota (25, Melbourne Rebels)

Lachlan Lonergan (22, Brumbies)

Fraser McReight (23, Queensland Reds)

Matt Philip (28, Melbourne Rebels)

David Porecki (29, NSW Waratahs)

Pete Samu (30, Brumbies)

Scott Sio (30, Brumbies)

James Slipper (33, Brumbies)

Darcy Swain (25, Brumbies)

Taniela Tupou (26, Queensland Reds)

Rob Valetini (23, Brumbies)

Harry Wilson (22, Queensland Reds)

Backs

Jock Campbell (27, Queensland Reds)

Quade Cooper (34, Kintetsu Liners)

Lalakai Foketi (27, NSW Waratahs)

Jake Gordon (29, NSW Waratahs)

Reece Hodge (27, Melbourne Rebels)

Len Ikitau (23, Brumbies)

Marika Koroibete (29, Saitama Wild Knights)

Noah Lolesio (22, Brumbies)

Tate McDermott (23, Queensland Reds)

James O’Connor (32, Queensland Reds)

Hunter Paisami (24, Queensland Reds)

Jordan Petaia (22, Queensland Reds)

Irae Simone (27, Brumbies)

Suliasi Vunivalu (26, Queensland Reds)

Nic White (32, Brumbies)

Tom Wright (24, Brumbies)

Australia Rugby Championship Fixtures 2022

Sat 6 Aug Argentina 26-41 Australia

Sat 13 Aug Argentina v Australia (8.10pm, Estadio del Bicentenario, San Juan) Live on Sky Sports

Sat 27 Aug Australia v South Africa (6.30am, Adelaide Oval) Live on Sky Sports

Sat 3 Sep Australia v South Africa (10.35am, Allianz Stadium, Sydney) Live on Sky Sports

Thu 15 Sep Australia v New Zealand (10.45am, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne) Live on Sky Sports

Sat 24 Aug New Zealand v Australia (8.05am, Eden Park, Auckland) Live on Sky Sports

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