Phipps makes way for Genia in Scotland clash
RUGBY UNION: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has raced Will Genia straight back into the halfback role against Scotland in the only change to the line-up that beat Wales last weekend.
Nick Phipps, who has rediscovered top form the past two Tests against Wales and New Zealand, will drop back to the bench at a sold-out Murrayfield on Sunday (1.30am AEST) as Australia seeks to keep alive its Grand Slam hopes.
Genia plays at Stade Francais and since last week's game was played outside the official Test window, he was not released by his club.
"I think Phipps had two really good games, I do, against New Zealand then against Wales, but Genia, I thought he's been one of our best all season,” Cheika said.
"I just feel that this is a good game for him to play, come back in and get straight into it, and then Nick will finish the game.
"I think Nick's standard has definitely gone up from what I saw earlier in the year and now there's a real competition going on there.”
Cheika told reporters his policy of chopping and changing his line-up for each Test had paid dividends.
"I have been selecting different players at different times and I think that towards the end of the year there is this opportunity of a few games in a row where we can play with the same team,” he said.
Cheika expects a tough battle up front and has selected six forwards and only two backs on the bench - Phipps and Quade Cooper.
Giant lock Will Skelton returns on the bench for his first international since the second Bledisloe Cup match on August 27 in Wellington.
Scott Fardy has dropped off the bench to make way for Skelton and Dean Mumm.
"I think we will be targeted at the set piece everywhere in the northern hemisphere,” Cheika said.
"You look at the comments from (former Scotland coach Ian) McGeechan when he said that we are weak in the tight five and that is where teams should target us.
"He is a man of a lot of experience so we are sure that we will be targeted in that area.
"We have improved in the scrum and lineout in the last couple of years and will be doing our damnedest to be really competitive in that part of the game.
"They will treasure that part of the game and there is no way they are picking anyone who is not ready for it.
"They have two very big locks, as have we. They have a great ground game and like to attack rucks hard. We will probably like to do the same. It should be a good tussle.”
Cheika has stuck with the same back-row as last weekend after David Pocock overcame concussion test protocols and despite Mumm - who was suspended for Wales - becoming available again.
"It's a tough one, but the way we'll arrange our finishers, I'm sure (Mumm) will be amongst there somewhere and we'll have the option to play in different ways if we want to, seeing how we go early on with that formation,” Cheika said.
He said No.8 Lopeti Timani could not be dropped on current form to allow for the previous back-row of Pocock, Mumm and Michael Hooper.
"(Timani) is continually making me pick him, that's the issue. His performances have spoken for themselves,” Cheika said.
"I want him to learn how to back up and play week to week in that atmosphere.”
After their resounding 32-8 victory in Cardiff, the Wallabies should be expected to dispose of Scotland relatively comfortably, as the home side has not played for almost five months.
In the other changes on the bench, prop James Slipper makes way for Tom Robertson, while winger Sefa Naivalu drops off to accommodate for the extra forward.
WALLABIES: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Reece Hodge, Henry Speight, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Lopeti Timani, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (c), Scott Sio. Reserves: Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Nick Phipps, Quade Cooper.
SCOTLAND: Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (c); John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, Allan Dell, Ross Ford, Zander Fagerson. Reserves: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Moray Low, Grant Gilchrist, John Hardie, Ali Price, Pete Horne, Rory Hughes.