Western Force skipper Matt Hodgson to lead Australia

WESTERN Force backrower Matt Hodgson will captain Australia for the first time when the team kicks off its Spring Tour against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday morning.

New coach Michael Cheika said Hodgson (pictured) had shown "exceptional leadership attributes at the Western Force for a long time," and deserved the opportunity to lead his country.

Hodgson takes over from Michael Hooper who has been rested for the match.

The team includes four players - winger Henry Speight, back-rower Sean McMahon and playmakers Quade Cooper and Will Genia - who have not played for Australia in 2014.

TEAM: Robinson, S Fainga'a, Alexander, Carter, Horwill, Higginbotham, Hodgson, McCalman, Genia, Cooper, Horne, Toomua, Kuridrani, Speight, Folau. Reserves: Hanson, Slipper, Kepu, Skelton, McMahon, White, Foley, Leali'ifano, Tomane.



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