Wallabies roll dice on James O'Connor as outside centre

James O'Connor has been given the chance to push his World Cup case after Michael Cheika named the utility back at outside centre in a shock backline selection for Bledisloe I.

O'Connor will partner the in-form Samu Kerevi in the midfield after Tevita Kuridrani was dumped from the squad altogether.

The former Western Force, Rebels and Reds back came off the bench against Argentina a fortnight ago having signed a two-year deal with Rugby Australia after securing a release from English club, Sale.

"I think James will present something different, something we haven't seen, so something our opponents haven't seen either," Cheika told a news conference in Perth.

"He's gone well in training and I'm looking forward to seeing him out there. I haven't known him much but since he's come into the squad, he's made me have faith in him."

Cheika also backed O'Connor to handle the defensive responsibility at outside centre, a position that is generally regarded as the toughest channel to defend.

"There will be certain set piece requirements that he'll need to fill there and then after that it's just be there and play footy, and that's what he's good at, he's good at playing footy," Cheika said.

"He is very solid in his defensive work over the training time and the footage I have seen him from over in the UK, he's very solid in that area."

Elsewhere, Nic White returns at No. 9 to partner Christian Leali'ifano, who impressed against the Pumas in Brisbane, in the halves, while the rest of the backline remains the same from the 16-10 victory at Suncorp Stadium.

"Nic played very well against South Africa," Cheika said. "Will came out and returned serve the next week and it's tough going. I'm not going to say Nic won [the selection battle] because they're both performing very well.

"He's got a different type of experience now, having played in Europe. He's been waiting a few years to get out and play another Bledisloe. The last one was in 2015 where he picked up a try in Sydney, so it'll be good to have him back out there."

Up front, Brumbies prop Alan Alaalatoa will makes his first Test start of the year in a new-look front-row that sees Tolu Latu named in the run-on side.

David Pocock was not named as expected, the veteran flanker still to convince selectors he is ready to play his first game since early March.

"He's trained all week with the team now," Cheika said of Pocock. "So he's getting very close. I'm confident he'll be available next week."

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, James O'Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White; Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper (capt), Lukhan Salakai-Loto, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Alan Alaalatoa, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio. Replacements: Folau Fainga'a, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Luke Jones, Will Genia, Matt Toomua, Tom Banks.