Quade Cooper has been dumped to the bench in a backline reshuffle for Australia's Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.

While loose forward David Pocock returns from injury via the bench in an unchanged forward pack, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to restore Bernard Foley to five-eighth and use Reece Hodge's strength and skills in his preferred second five-eighths position.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen yesterday mischievously picked what he thought Australia would put out in the backline, with remarkable success. He picked Cooper would be dropped as well as Hodge coming into second-five and Samu Kerevi at centre.

Cooper had an unhappy experience the last time he played at Eden Park. He was overshadowed by his opposite, Dan Carter, in the All Blacks' 41-13 win in August 2015 and it was almost merciful when he was sinbinned with 30 minutes remaining.


The Wallabies resisted the temptation to rush Pocock straight back into the starting line-up after a month on the sidelines, instead opting to use him as an impact weapon off the bench.

With Pocock returning, there is no room for long-time regular Scott Fardy in the match-day 23.

Cheika kept the All Blacks guessing until midday on match eve of the final transtasman showdown of the year before revealing his side.

"We've been trying guys in different combinations at training and trying to find the best ways to maximise the talents of the guys that we have," Australian defence coach Nathan Grey said.

"He's got a lot of experience playing in that position at Super Rugby. He's a big body, carries the ball very well and he's got a good passing game that he uses, and he's got good speed.

"All those attributes are very positive to have in a 12. He defends there at 12 anyway for us so he's used to being in that environment."

Cheika agonised over whether or not to thrust rookie locks Rory Arnold and Adam Coleman into the Eden Park cauldron or recalling the reliable second-row pairing of Kane Douglas and chief lineout caller Rob Simmons.

He eventually kept faith in Coleman and Arnold, while also retaining Lopeti Timani at No 8 after his starring role in Australia's last-start win over Argentina at Twickenham.

The Wallabies are bidding to break a 30-year hoodoo at Eden Park as well as deny the All Blacks a record 18th consecutive win on Saturday night.

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Reece Hodge, Henry Speight, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Lopeti Timani, Michael Hooper, Dean Mumm, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (c), Scott Sio. Reserves: James Hanson, Tom Robertson, Allan Ala'alatoa, Rob Simmons, David Pocock, Nick Frisby, Quade Cooper, Sefa Naivalu.