Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies recall James O'Connor for Bledisloe Cup opener

James O'Connor.
James O'Connor. Photo credit: AAP

The Wallabies have rolled the dice with former bad boy James O'Connor as they look to fire their attack against the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship clash in Perth on Saturday.

In his first start in six years O'Connor has been selected to play outside centre for the clash, which doubles as a Bledisloe Cup test, in one of four changes to the side that beat Argentina last month in Brisbane.

The Wallabies have struggled to convert dominant possession and opportunities into points in their past two tests against South Africa and the Pumas, with coach Michael Cheika deciding to bring another ball-player into his backline to replace outside centre Tevita Kuridrani.

Now 29, Connor became the second youngest Wallaby in Australian rugby history at age 18, but his promising career went off track after alcohol and drug indiscretions.

O'Connor isn't the the only selection gamble by Cheika as he looks to bed down his World Cup squad with just three tests to play before their opening World Cup match.

They are also desperate to win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.

Nic White, who was solid in their loss to the Springboks, has relegated veteran halfback Will Genia to the bench.

He will partner Christian Lealiifano, who will retain the number 10 jersey ahead of Bernard Foley.

Brumbies tighthead prop Allan Alaalatoa has been rushed back into the starting team after overcoming a foot injury and will bolster the front-row against Owen Franks, Codie Taylor and Joe Moody, who led the Crusaders to the Super Rugby title.

Alaalatoa is joined in the front-row by Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu with Folau Fainga'a shifting to the reserves

Wallabies: 1-Scott Sio, 2-Tolu Latu, 3-Allan Alaalatoa, 4-Izack Rodda, 5-Rory Arnold, 6-Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 7-Michael Hooper (captain),  8-Isi Naisarani, 9-Nic White, 10-Christian Lealiifano, 11-Marika Koroibete, 12-Samu Kerevi, 13-James O'Connor, 14-Reece Hodge, 15-Kurtley Beale

Reserves: 16-Folau Fainga'a, 17-James Slipper, 18-Taniela Tupou, 19-Adam Coleman, 20-Luke Jones, 21-Will Genia, 22-Matt To'omua, 23-Tom Banks.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies recall James O'Connor for Bledisloe Cup opener


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