Greg Holmes will become the oldest Wallaby to play a Test since World War II after the 38-year-old was named on the bench for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with Argentina.
The veteran prop hasn’t played for Australia since 2016 when he left to sign with Exeter in England.
Holmes returned home this year to play for the Force but wasn’t initially in the Wallabies frame.
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“It was a bit of a strange one,” Holmes said recently.
“I was sitting at a table with (coach Dave Rennie) at a Bledisloe lunch.
“I was doing a bit of coaching with the Force and asked if I could watch a couple of unit sessions and assumed it was about that.
“When I rang him back, he said ‘mate we’ve had a few injuries and setbacks, do you want to train for the week and potentially the next month?’ so it caught me a bit off guard.
“I’ve got a lot of learning to do over the next week or two to get myself into a position where I’ll be right to play.”
Holmes has played 27 Tests and debuted way back in 2005.
He will come off the bench alongside another comeback story in loose forward Sean McMahon, who hasn’t played a Test since 2017.
“Both Greg and Sean have worked extremely hard on the field and around their detail off the field and they’re both super excited to represent their country again on Saturday evening,” Rennie said.
Pete Samu will start at blindside flanker for Rob Leota while Jordan Petaia gets a run on the wing in place of Marika Koroibete.
Darcy Swain starts at lock ahead of Matt Philip.
“Pete’s been outstanding for us coming on as a replacement in the past few Tests and has earned his opportunity to show what he’s capable of from the kick off this weekend,” Rennie said.
“We’ve felt really well supported during all of our Tests in Australia this year and we’re looking to finishing the Rugby Championship with a performance the team and the country can be proud of.”
WALLABIES (15-1): Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Andrew Kellaway, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (c), Pete Samu, Darcy Swain, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Greg Holmes, Matt Philip, Sean McMahon, Jake Gordon, James O’Connor, Tom Wright