Australia name Beale for All Blacks clash
October 14, 2011
Kurtley Beale receives treatment during training © Getty Images
Australia have named Kurtley Beale at fullback for their World Cup semi-final against New Zealand despite doubts persisting over his fitness.
Should Beale fail to recover from a hamstring injury that he sustained during the Wallabies' victory over South Africa in the quarter-finals, Adam Ashley-Cooper will move from outside centre to fullback with Anthony Faingaa filling his position in midfield and Rob Horne stepping up to the replacements bench.
"We will leave it as long as we can before making a decision," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said. "It will be tough on Kurtley if he has to miss this one, but we will take no chances. If he can't play, he will contribute off the field as he always does. Adam and Ant are both good men. They will do a more than capable job in Kurtley's absence."
Pat McCabe has recovered quickly from a shoulder injury and will start at inside centre in a Wallabies team that will be unchanged from the quarter-final, if Beale is fit. The one confirmed change on the bench is the inclusion of abrasive Queensland Reds lock Rob Simmons ahead of Nathan Sharpe, who will have to wait for his 100th Test cap.
Australia's last win against New Zealand at Eden Park was in 1986 - the year before Rugby World Cup began. The All Blacks have not lost at the ground to anyone for 17 years - but Deans said: "The circumstances this weekend are unique.
"It's a tough place to play, and those are impressive numbers for sure, but they don't matter once Sunday night's match kicks off. Rugby World Cup elimination matches are stand alone contests, distinct from any other that are played in the international game.
"The pressure is divided equally on both sides as there is no tomorrow, and the ultimate prize [a place in the Rugby World Cup final] awaits the side which earns that right of passage."
Australia: Kurtley Beale/Adam Ashley-Cooper; Jams O'Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper/Anthony Faingaa, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander; Dan Vickerman, James Horwill; Rocky Elsom, David Pocock, Radike Samo.
Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Ben McCalman, Luke Burgess, Berrick Barnes, Anthony Faingaa/Rob Horne.
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