The 55-year-old told The Daily Telegraph: "We heard the team two days ago. Let's just say we heard it on the grapevine.
"It was named a couple of days ago to the players."
However, Connolly admitted the selection, which was also revealed in New Zealand newspaper The Sunday News, raised few eyebrows in the Wallabies camp.
The newspaper reported Mils Muliaina would replace Tana Umaga at centre while Leon MacDonald, Byron Kelleher and Rico Gear would start at full-back, scrum-half and right wing respectively.
It also stated that Rodney So'oialo, Jerry Collins and Richie McCaw will start in the back row and Jason Eaton has won the opportunity to partner Chris Jack at lock.
Connolly added: "It wasn't off-the-wall for us. We expected MacDonald to be in so we anticipated that's what they'd do with Muliaina."