White, Foley win Wallabies halves race
June 3, 2014
The Brumbies' Nic White challenges the line, Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels, Super Rugby, GIO Stadium, Canberra, May 31, 2014
The Brumbies' Nic White has won the scrum-half role from Will Genia © Getty Images

Nic White and Bernard Foley will form a new Wallabies halves pairing with long-serving scrum-half Will Genia unable to even gain selection on the bench for the first rugby Test against France on Saturday.

Brumbies star White will start at scrum-half while Foley has been given the fly-half berth ahead of New South Wales Waratahs team-mate Kurtley Beale, who is on the bench for the Suncorp Stadium clash.

Nick Phipps has been preferred as reserve halfback ahead of Genia.

Coach Ewen McKenzie has also handed a Test debut to Brumbies lock Sam Carter alongside Rob Simmons in the second row, with former skipper James Horwill relegated to the bench.

And Wycliff Palu has claimed the contentious No.8 spot for his 50th appearance for the Wallabies. Carter, 24, is the son of former Wallabies player David Carter and he highlights McKenzie's insistence that form is the driving factor behind his selections.

"We function in a performance environment and so it's important to reward those who have consistently played at a high level over the course of the season," McKenzie said

Brumbies fly-half Matt Toomua reverts to the inside centre role he played so effectively for the Wallabies in 2013 alongside Tevita Kuridrani, while Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Cummins fill the wing spots.

Newly appointed captain Stephen Moore will join props James Slipper and Sekope Kepu in the front-row. Openside flanker Michael Hooper partners Scott Fardy in the back-row alongside Palu, who held off competition from Ben McCalman and Scott Higginbotham to replace Europe-bound Ben Mowen at No.8.

White will be making his third start for Australia after replacing a struggling Genia against Argentina and South Africa last year before the Queenslander reclaimed the spot. Foley, who has been in stellar form in this year's Super Rugby competition, will be looking to recreate his Waratahs combination with fullback Israel Folau at international level.

"Nic and Bernard are two players who have had a huge influence in the results of their provincial teams over the past two seasons," said McKenzie. "I've also been pleased to see their development as playmakers since getting a taste of Test rugby last year and you can sense they have a real confidence in running a game. We have a very specific style of game we want to play - the Wallaby way - and their two skill-sets complement each other in ensuring we can deliver our game plan on the night. They're also established goal-kickers and you can never underestimate the importance of this skill at an international level."

Australia: Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Nick Cummins; Bernard Foley, Nic White; Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; Sam Carter, Rob Simmons; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (captain), James Slipper. Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Pek Cowan, Paddy Ryan, James Horwill, Ben McCalman, Nick Phipps, Kurtley Beale, Pat McCabe.


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