Deans keeps the faith with O'Connor
December 1, 2011
O'Connor outshone Danny Cipriani last weekend © Getty Images
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has handed James O'Connor the fly-half reins for their clash with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
The 21-year-old impressed against the Barbarians last weekend as they ran out 60-11 victors and Deans has opted to hand him the No.10 jersey over Berrick Barnes - who stays at inside centre. The pick of O'Connor at ten means he will come up against another one of rugby's hottest properties when he faces off with Welsh fly-half Rhys Priestland.
Barnes looked like he sustained a knock against the Baa-Baas at the weekend but Deans has opted to keep the same backline which tormented the invitational side. But he has opted to make two changes to the pack. James Horwill returns to skipper the side with Ben McCalman starting at No.8 after withdrawing late from the side last weekend. Nathan Sharpe is named on the bench alongside Radiko Samo with Ben Lucas and Anthony Fainga'a joining the pair in the replacements.
Adam Ashley Cooper, Lachie Turner, Rob Horne, Berrick Barnes, Digby Ioane, James O'Connor, Will Genia; James Slipper, Tatafu Polota Nau, Salesi Ma'afu, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Scott Higginbotham, David Pocock, Ben McCalman
Replacements: Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Nathan Sharpe, Radike Samo, Ben Lucas, Ben Tapuai, Anthony Fainga'a
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament