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James O'Connor starts at 15 fo...

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James O'Connor starts at 15 for Australia against New Zealand


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James O'Connor will play his first game for Australia in six-years when they face New Zealand in the Rugby Championship in Perth.

Saturday's match will also be the first time that O'Connor has started at outside-centre for the Wallabies.

The versatile back had been in international exile since he was involved in an altercation with airline staff in 2013.

Head-coach Michael Cheika feels the 29-year-old will add 'something different' to their midfield.

"I think James will present something different, something we haven't seen, so something our opponents haven't seen either.

"He's gone well in training and I'm looking forward to seeing him out there. I haven't known him much but since he's come into the squad, he's made me have faith in him."

Former Ulster player Christian Lealiifano has been retained at out-half ahead of Bernard Foley.

"It was tight but Christian did his job last weekend," Cheika added.

"It was his first game back in international colours for a while. He distributed well, made his tackles, took his kicks at goal."

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

Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks

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