Wallabies team news, Bernard Foley to start against All Blacks

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Bernard Foley will start for the Wallabies for the first time in three years after Noah Lolesio was ruled out of Thursday’s Bledisloe Cup opener in Melbourne.

The 33-year-old five-eighth moved to Japan after the 2019 Rugby World Cup but zoomed back into the frame following Quade Cooper’s Achilles injury and James O’Connor’s loss of form.

After being concussed in the 24-8 loss to the Springboks in Sydney, Lolesio failed to pass the return to play protocols in time for the All Blacks at Marvel Stadium.

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie will announce the full team at 12.15pm AEST and is leaning on Foley’s 71 Tests of experience for the round five Rugby Championship clash.

Foley is one of the three allowed overseas-based picks in the squad along with Marika Koroibete and Kurtley Beale.

“I suppose I always hoped and thought about it, but I never thought the opportunity would come back up, especially leaving, going overseas and knowing that the eligibility laws have the ability to change,” Foley said after returning to the squad in August.

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“I had to be content with not getting the opportunity again when I left in 2019 so to now get the opportunity to be back here in the squad and get to wear the colours – I’m grateful and excited about having that second opportunity.

“Experiences over there (in Japan) have hopefully allowed me to see a more worldly game and how other teams and other players approach the game and their trends and objectives in how they play footy.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play with All Blacks, South Africans and Japanese players.

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“We all brought a different flavour and being around those guys has taught me a lot about the rigours of playing footy and how the mindsets and intentions change wherever you are playing the game.”

The Wallabies sit third on the Rugby Championship ladder on nine points, with the All Blacks leading on 11 following their 53-3 demolition of Argentina.

“We understand the All Blacks are coming off a really good performance against the Argentinians, they were totally dominant in all areas and will take a lot of confidence out of that,” Wallabies forwards coach Dan McKellar said.

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“We’ve just got to get our strategy and tactics right in terms of how we think we’ll beat them and then make sure we train it well and that gives us a chance…

“We were beaten around the breakdown (against South Africa), there’s no doubt and so it’s an area that we will continue to focus heavily on.

“Our ball carrying, our cleanout work, we turned over possession off first phase, which is very unlike us. You can have the grandest plans about how you want to attack – but if you don’t win that area of the game then you struggle.

“If we dish up what we did in Sydney, then the All Blacks will hurt us.”

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