Foley returns for Wallabies as veteran relishes All Blacks clash

·3-min read

Bernard Foley is relishing "one more crack" at international rugby after the experienced fly-half was picked by Australia to face New Zealand in Thursday's Bledisloe Cup clash.

After three years out of the picture, since moving to play in Japan after the Rugby World Cup, Foley has been handed the chance to be the Wallabies' playmaker once more.

The 71-cap Foley's inclusion is one of eight changes made to the starting line-up by coach Dave Rennie for the tussle with the All Blacks in Melbourne.

Waratahs captain Jake Gordon comes in at scrum-half to partner 33-year-old Foley, with the home side looking to atone for a 24-8 loss to South Africa last time out, in Sydney.

Australia have two wins from four games so far in the Rugby Championship and complete their campaign with home and away battles against New Zealand, with the Bledisloe Cup on the line.

Wing Marika Koroibete will get his 50th cap, yet all eyes will be on Foley in the first instance.

"It's great to have Bernard's experience, and he brings plenty of voice and passion for the gold jersey," Rennie said.

Foley replaces Noah Lolesio who suffered concussion in the loss to the Springboks.

"It means so much," Foley said. "Not being a part of it for a couple of years, being a spectator overseas, you get to reflect on how much the jersey means to you and how you really appreciate the time and opportunity.

"I'm really excited. One thing when you go away is you miss the build-up, the anticipation of these big games, so I've enjoyed this week."

For his international return to come against New Zealand makes it all the more special.

"I think you definitely look at the games and you have some great battles," Foley said. "You always wish you can get one more crack, so for me to be back here is just making the most of it."

New Zealand coach Ian Foster has switched around his scrum, with Hoskins Sotutu coming in at number eight and Brodie Retallick handed a chance in the second row, as Scott Barrett moves to blindside blanker

Foster said of the high-stakes tussles with Australia: "We are incredibly driven to keep hold of this trophy which means so much to both countries.

"And when you factor in how tight this year's Rugby Championship is, all signs point towards another great Test match here in Melbourne."

Australia::Andrew Kellaway, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon; James Slipper (captain), David Porecki, Allan Alaalatoa, Jed Holloway, Matt Philip, Rob Leota, Pete Samu, Rob Valetini.

Replacements Folau Fainga'a, Scott Sio, Pone Fa'amausili, Darcy Swain, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia.

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Ethan de Groot, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Tyrel Lomax, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Sam Cane (captain), Hoskins Sotutu.

Replacements: Dane Coles, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali'i, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Quinn Tupaea.