Love him or hate him, James O’Connor is here to stay.
Earlier today, Wallabies Coach announced his team that will take on Argentina this weekend in Suncorp Stadium. After the season-opening loss the Springboks in South Africa, Cheika has made five changes to the starting XV and given the bench a healthy reshuffle in preparation for this weekends game. The most notable additions to the twenty-three include Lealiifano as starting five-eighth and former prodigal son James O’Connor ready for his first test in nearly six years.
Other changes include Scott Sio replacing James Slipper, while halfback Will Genia, fullback Kurtley Beale and winger Marika Koroibete slot in for Nic White, Tom Banks and Dane Haylett-Petty respectively.
The number of changes highlights the rusty start to the Wallabies season. With the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, no position is safe.
Cristiano Lealiifano, 31 dons the gold jersey for the first time since 2016 completing an inspirational return to form since his battle with leukemia. Whilst, James O’Connor’s chequered past has led many to question his inclusion. The 29-year-old has signed with the Reds for the 2020 and 2021 Super Rugby seasons and is coming off a solid season in England with Sale. This is his first return to Aussie footy since Rugby Australia tore his contract up in 2013 for arriving to a flight intoxicated.
Kurtley Beale and Lealiifano have previous experience playing together and could prove to be a devisive this weekend.
Full team list for Wallabies v Argentina in the Rugby Championship below.