Timani returns for Wallabies as Genia absence is confirmed


Lopeti Timani has returned to the Australia XV for Saturday's match against England, while Will Genia's absence has been confirmed.

Coach Michael Cheika hopes placing Timani at number eight and moving David Pocock to flanker will boost the Wallabies' physical attributes after a 27-24 defeat to Ireland last weekend.

Nathan Hughes replaces the injured Billy Vunipola at the back of the scrum for England, and the Australia coach insists his team selection is not a reaction to how Eddie Jones' side will line-up.

"He [Timani] will give us a lot of punch and strength in attack and defence. That extra weight he's got, his ball carrying and strong defence, it's going to be a very physical game and he's fresh now after a couple of weeks off and ready to go. I think we'll need that extra grunt in there for this game," said Cheika.

"They have a pretty good guy backing up [Vunipola] who is new on the scene in [Nathan] Hughes. He's a pretty sizeable chap himself and a pretty good ball carrier.

"It's not in response to what the other team does, it's what I think we need to win this game."

Nick Phipps will start at scrum-half after Stade Francais refused to release Genia for international duty, with Nick Frisby listed among the replacements.

Cheika wants his forward pack to put in the effort to ensure Phipps and fly-half Bernard Foley are not successfully shut out of the game by England, as they were during the 3-0 series defeat in June.

"Our forwards are very clear that that can't happen. We need a platform and if Nick Phipps is targeted it's because of the forwards and not Nick Phipps," he said.

"They go hand in hand and I'm not going to be pointing the finger at him for that."

Rory Arnold has been left out of the 23-man squad, while Tom Robertson has been included following an injury to Allan Alaalatoa.


Australia team: Isreal Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Reece Hodge, Sefa Naivalu, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; Scott Sio, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Lopeti Timani.

Replacements: Tolu Latu, James Slipper, Tom Robertson, Dean Mumm, Sean McMahon, Nick Frisby, Quade Cooper, Henry Speight.