Shock Bledisloe Cup return for unwanted Wallaby
Dane Haylett-Petty will be rushed straight back into the Wallabies team for Saturday's must win Bledisloe Cup match at ANZ Stadium more than a year after he was dumped from the World Cup side.
Haylett-Petty hasn't played for the Wallabies since last year's final pool D game against Georgia in Japan after he was surprisingly left out of the team that lost in the quarterfinals to England but has been given a reprieve by new coach Dave Rennie.
Unavailable for the first two Bledisloe Cup tests because of a groin injury, the Melbourne Rebels' captain will start at fullback against the All Blacks, replacing Tom Banks after he struggled in the second test defeat in Auckland.
"The way we've approached it is jerseys are up for grabs, so they have to prove at training they are worthy of the shirt," assistant coach Scott Wisemantel said.
"Obviously now that Super Rugby has finished and they're not playing games regularly, it has to be training. Shirts have been given out on the basis of training performances. On that basis, it means that everyone is a chance."
The Wallabies will have to make one enforced change to the backline with inside centre Matt Toomua on the casualty list, with Irae Simone and Reece Hodge vying for the spot, and are also likely to bring in whiz-kid Jordan Petaia at outside centre.
Wallaby World Cup winner Tim Horan said Petaia's return from injury left Rennie with some 'brave calls' to make but former All Black Andrew Mehrtens said it was no-brainer to pick him at outside centre.
"For me, Petaia has got to be at 13, he's just got so much ability," Mehrtens said.
"He's such a threat on so many levels that you want the ball in his hands as often as possible and he'll get those chances more at 13 than on the wing.
"The interesting thing in the midfield, with potentially a couple of inexperienced players in there, I'd almost be tempted to throw Reece Hodge in the mix to provide a bit more of that vision and communication alongside (James) O'Connor."
Wisemantel said the Wallabies hadn't lost any self-belief after their 27-7 loss in the second test, rejecting suggestions the All Blacks had overpowered Australia after the drawn first test.
Instead, Wisemantel said the Wallabies brought about their own downfall by missing 40 tackles and turning the ball over 20 times.
"Did they take it up a notch or were we inaccurate?" Wisemantel said.
"(We) Just need to be far more accurate. Defence, attack, our whole all-round game, we've got to be more accurate."
Meanwhile, Wallaby prop Scott Sio and New Zealand lock Patrick Tuipulotu have put their rivalry to the side by calling on Australia and New Zealand to end the "broken promises" and finally to do more for Pacific Island players and teams.
Appointed as ambassadors for the Samoa Tourism Authority with the country's economy hard hit by the pandemic, both men said the need for a Pasifika team in Super Rugby had moved past the lip service stage.
"This is something that we want but then again there are a lot of hoops to go through and a lot of cogs to move before we get anywhere," Tuipulotu said.
"It's almost like there has been a lot of broken promises over the years and it's hard to really start something."
Sio, whose father represented Samoa at test level, said there was overwhelming support among all players for matches in the Pacific.
"It's not that players don't want to travel there," he said.
"There are a lot of boxes needing to be ticked and we don't have a lot of influence on a lot of that. But we can use our platform to keep raising that awareness that we think it's a great opportunity for both countries to expand and grow the game of rugby."
Wallabies vs All Blacks Bledisloe III is Live on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo from 7.00pm Saturday (Available in 4k on Foxtel)
Originally published as Shock Bledisloe Cup return for unwanted Wallaby