James OConnor returns for Australia in Rugby Championship Test vs Argentina

Australia will look to continue their Rugby Championship recovery when they face Argentina in the first of back-to-back meetings on Saturday.

James O'Connor will have his chance at international redemption as part of the matchday squad in Townsville, where he'll hope to make his first Test appearance of the year off the bench.

The Queensland Red has been recalled after recovering from a groin injury, though he'll settle for a substitute role as Reece Hodge replaces Tom Banks at full-back.

Hodge was a first-half replacement in last Saturday's 30-17 win over South Africa after Banks suffered a broken arm early on, and coach Dave Rennie has hinted O'Connor's international future lies at full-back.

He'll be forced to wait as he looks to make his first Wallabies appearance since December, however, hoping to have an impact in a remodelled role within the national team.

Melbourne Rebels prospect Rob Leota made his first Wallabies appearance as a late substitute in Australia's 28-26 win over the Springboks a fortnight ago, but he'll earn a maiden start at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

He'll come in at blindside flanker following Lachlan Swinton's yellow card in their most recent win over South Africa.

“It's a really proud moment for Rob and his family to earn his first start in Wallaby gold and we're all rapt for him," head coach Dave Rennie said after announcing his team on Thursday.

“He’s really impressed us with his work ethic on and off the field and worked hard for this opportunity.

Do you think Argentina can end their Rugby Championship losing streak against Argentina? Let us know in the comments section.

"It's been fantastic to connect with the Townsville community this week ahead of the first ever Test here and we're determined to build on the past couple of performances on Saturday night."

Australia and Argentina drew twice in as many meetings last year, but the Wallabies look in the mood to get back to winning ways following consecutive victories over South Africa.

Fly-half Quade Cooper has inspired the team after recently ending a four-year international exile, and the hope is that O'Connor may have a similar boosting effect at full-back.

Mario Ledesma's men are still yet to earn a point in the Rugby Championship and remain stuck to the base of the table as things stand.

It's been a little more than three years since the Pumas last defeated Australia during the 2018 edition of this tournament, one of only two occasions they've managed to beat the Wallabies on their own soil.

Australiateam to face Argentina

(Backs) Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nic White; (Forwards) Rob Valentini, Michael Hooper (c), Rob Leota, Matt Philip, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, Jamies Slipper

Reps: Feleti Kaitu’u, Angus Bell, Tom Robertson, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, James O'Connor, Jordan Petaia

Source: Read Full Article