Michael Hooper will return to Australia’s team for the Test against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday after missing the entire Rugby Championship because the back-row forward was not in the right frame of mind to play.
Hooper has not, though, reclaimed the captaincy, which will remain with the prop James Slipper. The full-back Tom Banks also returns after recovering from a broken arm while the scrum-half Tate McDermott will earn his first international start of 2022. The lock Nick Frost will make just his second start for Australia and partners Cadeyrn Neville in the second row.
It is the first of five Tests for the Wallabies on their end-of-year tour of the northern hemisphere. They also play France, Italy, Ireland and Wales over the following four weekends.
Meanwhile, the Glasgow lock Scott Cummings has been ruled out of Scotland’s Autumn Series with a broken toe. The 25-year-old, who would have been in contention to start against Australia, has withdrawn from Gregor Townsend’s squad and will play no part in any of the four Tests over the next month. His place in the squad is taken by Edinburgh’s Glen Young, who has been named among the substitutes for the showdown with the Wallabies at Murrayfield.
The Glasgow back-rower Jack Dempsey, who won 14 Australia caps before making himself available for Scotland following a recent change in World Rugby’s international eligibility rules, is in contention to make his debut off the bench against the nation of his birth. Dempsey’s Glasgow colleague Ollie Smith is given his first home start after making his debut against Argentina during the summer Tour of South America.
Jamie Ritchie will captain the side for the first time since being appointed as Stuart Hogg’s successor, while Blair Kinghorn starts at No 10 after the controversial decision not to select Finn Russell.
The team for this Saturday is made up entirely of Scotland-based players, with Adam Hastings, Chris Harris, Josh Bayliss and Hogg among those unavailable this weekend as the match falls outside the international window.