O'Connor retains fly-half role
June 26, 2013
Kurtley Beale tackles during a Wallabies training session in Melbourne © Getty Images
James O'Connor has retained his place at five-eighth for the Wallabies' must-win second Test against the British & Irish Lions on Saturday night.
In the only injury-enforced changes to the backline, Kurtley Beale has replaced Berrick Barnes (head knock) at fullback and Joe Tomane comes onto the wing for Digby Ioane (shoulder).
Christian Leali'ifano was cleared to play after his Test debut in Brisbane was cut short in the opening minute following a midfield collision with Lions inside centre Jonathan Davies. Leali'ifano received the green light after undergoing extensive post-concussion tests and will resume the goal-kicking role, which fell to O'Connor and Beale in his absence.
The inclusion of Tomane represents a second Test cap for the Brumbies winger, more than 12 months after he made his debut for Australia against Scotland last year.
The Australian forward pack is unchanged from the opening Test, with front-rower Ben Alexander set to earn his 50th test cap.
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Midfielder Rob Horne and uncapped fullback Jesse Mogg have both been added to the bench. But there was no place for 110-Test great George Smith, who was recalled to the 31-man squad after the thrilling first Test loss.
Queensland youngster Liam Gill, who was influential at the breakdown for the last 32 minutes off the bench, remains as the openside back-up to Michael Hooper.
Australia must win the Test at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium to ensure a decider in Sydney on Saturday week after losing the series opener 23-21 in Brisbane last weekend.
Wallabies: Kurtley Beale; Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Leali'ifano, Joe Tomane; James O'Connor, Will Genia; Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Ben Mowen; James Horwill (captain), Kane Douglas; Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Replacements: Saia Fainga'a, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Liam Gill, Nick Phipps, Rob Horne, Jesse Mogg.
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