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Cadeyrn Neville handed shock start in Australia’s opener against England

Cadeyrn Neville gets off to a shocking start in Saturday’s series opener against England… with the former rower turning into Australia’s oldest debutant in 23 YEARS at age 33

  • Australia gives a shock start to former rower Cadeyrn Neville on Saturday
  • In the series opener against England, coach Dave Rennie wants physical players
  • Neville, a former rower, becomes the oldest Australian debutant since 1999

Former rower Cadeyrn Neville becomes Australia’s oldest debutant since 1999 in Saturday’s opening game against England.

Neville, now 33, previously represented his country at the Youth Olympics, once aiming for a place in London 2012 in the single scull.

The veteran lock has gotten a shock start in Perth, where coach Dave Rennie hopes his size and experience will help fight England’s bummer.

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“From a perseverance standpoint, it’s a great story,” Rennie said.

‘I think Nev was called into a Wallabies squad when Michael Hooper made his debut’ [in 2012], so that’s saying something. Hoops has since had 120 caps.

“He’s leaving, he’s an ex-rower and that’s why he has such a huge engine. He played a bit of competition at one point. He suffered injuries, spent some time abroad and returned for a final dig.

“He’s a great story for the guys who may have thought the dream had passed them by.”

Weighing in at nearly 20 stone, Neville has been rewarded for his physical performance for the Brumbies this season. He could help amplify the scenery in the absence of talisman-proper Taniela Tupou – becoming the country’s oldest debutant since Tiaan Strauss.

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“He’s a big man, 124-5 kg, so he’s very important to us from an established point of view,” said Rennie. “Very good at maul, lineout and scrum.

“The lineout maul is a huge part of the game now. If you don’t have a real threat, it’s pretty easy to defend, so if you have a good maul, teams should spend some time thinking about how they’re going to defend it.

“They will have to use some agencies to defend it, which creates opportunities elsewhere.”

Unlimited hooker Dave Porecki, who previously played for Saracens and London Irish, will also make his debut. He moved to England to provide cover during the 2015 World Cup and will now face some of his old teammates.

“I was jet lagged on the couch when I got a message from my agent that you have a chance to go to Saracens with four months coverage for the guys going to the World Cup,” said Porecki.

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“So that was Jamie George with England and Schalk Britten with South Africa. I didn’t really know who Saracens were, so I googled them and found that they were the best team in Europe, so I jumped at the chance.

‘Four months turned into a year and then I switched. The rest is history.

‘You gain insight into their decor and mentality and what their foundations are built on.

“It’s old-school, traditional rugby that they’ve modernized, but the basics have stayed the same. It’s all about strong set pieces, trap play, territory, exactly what we expect when we face them on Saturday.”

The Japan-based trio of Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete will also be seen in the Wallabies from XV onwards.

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