* Number eight gets the chance to play with World Cup participants
* Slipper returns after three years out of the team
* White back after four years of absence (adds details, quotes)
JOHANNESBURG, July 18 (Reuters) – Australia has chosen uninterrupted Melbourne Rebel's number eight Isi Naisarani for the Rugby Championship opening to South Africa at Ellis Park on Saturday, but there is no place in the team yet for the returning James & # 39; Connor.
Fijian born Naisarani, who moved to Australia five years ago, will pack up with Captain Michael Hooper and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto behind the scrum and get the chance to claim a place at the World Cup in Japan.
Prop James Slipper will be playing his first test since 2016, while scrumhalf Nic White also returns after he last played against New Zealand four years ago.
White's admission means 100-cap veteran Will Genia will start on the bench along with prop Harry Johnson-Holmes, who will make his test debut if he is used to flying late this week after injury in training to Scott Sio and Tom Robertson.
Coach Michael Cheika has withstood the temptation to include help back O & # 39; Connor after his return to the team six years after receiving his Australian Rugby contract for various off-field events.
O & # 39; Connor believes his best position is the number 12 jersey currently occupied by in-form Samu Kerevi, who will be the partner of Tevita Kuridrani in the middle for the first time in two years.
Bernard Foley wants to play on the flyhalf in the injury absence of Christian Lealiifano, who has returned to Australia with a shoulder problem, and jumps his hopes for a first cap of three years after restoring the fight against cancer.
"This is an opportunity for our team. We really want to start building momentum to move towards our goal in 2019," said Cheika in a Rugby Australia statement.
"We know we're entering the game as heavy underdogs, but most of the players have had a hint of three major weeks of training to prepare, so they just can't wait to get out of the game.
"I feel very faithful and committed by the people of this Wallaby squad. They've all invested a ton of effort in our preparation and I know the 23 men elected to represent us all on Saturday will make us proud."
Australia has not won in South Africa since 2011, and has not claimed victory at Ellis Park for the past 56 years.
15-Tom Banks, 14-Dane Haylett-Petty, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Reece Hodge, 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Nic White, 8-Isi Naisarani, 7-Michael Hooper (Captain) 6 -Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5-Rory Arnold, 4-Izack Rodda, 3-Seconds Kepu, 2-Folau Fainga & # 39; a, 1-James Slipper
Replacements: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18-Taniela Tupou, 19-Rob Simmons, 20-Jack Dempsey, 21-Will Genia, 22-Matt Too, 23-Kurtley Beale. (Nick Said Report; Editing Greg Stutchbury)
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