Cheika axes Beale for England clash
KURTLEY Beale, the Wallabies' only Aboriginal squad member on tour, has been dropped for the game against England on Sunday (AEST) when Australia will wear an indigenous-designed jersey for the first time on foreign soil.
Coach Michael Cheika made the shock call to drop Beale from the squad - the first time he's done so when the playmaker has been fit and available - due to Beale's inconsistent form and the team's evolving style of play.
Beale, who campaigned Rugby Australia to allow the Wallabies to wear an indigenous jersey last year for the first time against the All Blacks in Brisbane, will not get to wear it on this occasion and will be watching the match from the Twickenham stands.
Cheika, looking to avoid a record sixth straight defeat to England, said he could not afford to consider the jersey and Beale's connection to it when making his selections.
"I don't want to be romantic about that type of stuff," Cheika said.
"It means a lot to all of us.
"Kurtley has shared a couple of stories this week, every time we wear that jersey we want to learn a little bit more about our indigenous history, which probably isn't taught to us at school as much as it should be.
"He told those stories with passion this week and our guys are learning more about that all the time. As representatives of Australia on the sporting field, I think that's the right thing to do."
Cheika has kept Matt Toomua and Bernard Foley as his playmakers - the duo started last week's match against Italy with Beale coming off the bench.
With David Pocock named to play but under an injury could, Cheika opted for a 6-2 split on the bench and could not find room for Beale.
"I don't know if we've really fired this year as much in the three-quarters (midfield), I want to play this game in a certain way," Cheika said.
"With the thought of that strategy I had to make some difficult decisions around who was going to play that style of game and that's what I came up with."
Pocock, meanwhile, failed to train again on Thursday but Cheika is confident he will be fine by kick-off after speaking with the star backrower.
"I wouldn't say [he is] fully [fit], I'd rather be straight up about that, otherwise he'd have been training today,' Cheika said.
"He's hurting but he's desperate to play.
"If there was ever a risk, if he said to me he couldn't do it, then obviously not. But he's telling me he can get there."
Jack Maddocks will start on the wing against England while Tolu Latu returns as starting Wallabies hooker.
Maddocks replaces Melbourne teammate Marika Koroibete in what will be just his third Test start.
Latu, another player who did not feature in the 23-man squad last weekend, has been rushed straight back into the starting team as Cheika continues to rotate his hookers.
Joining Latu in the front row is veteran Sekope Kepu, who came off the bench last week.
Israel Folau remains at fullback, swapping with winger Dane Haylett-Petty who has worn the No. 15 jersey for most of the year.
Halfback Will Genia will play his 100th Test for Australia after being selected as the starting halfback.
WALLABIES: 15. Israel Folau 14. Dane Haylett-Petty 13. Samu Kerevi 12. Bernard Foley 11. Jack Maddocks 10. Matt Toomua 9. Will Genia 8. David Pocock 7. Michael Hooper (captain) 6. Jack Dempsey 5. Adam Coleman 4. Izack Rodda 3. Sekope Kepu 2. Tolu Latu 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau 17. Jermaine Ainsley 18. Allan Alaalatoa 19. Rob Simmons 20. Ned Hanigan 21. Pete Samu 22. Nick Phipps 23. Sefanaia Naivalu