Deans rings changes for Barbarians showdown
December 2, 2008
James O'Connor will make his first start for the Wallabies against the Barbarians © Getty Images
Fullback James O'Connor will start his first match for Australia in tomorrow night's clash against the Barbarians at Wembley. At 18 years and 126 days, O'Connor became the second youngest player to play for the Wallabies when he came on as a substitute against Italy last month.
The Wallabies have followed a Barbarians tradition by naming uncapped Brumbies lock Peter Kimlin among the replacements. As cover for the injured James Horwill, Kimlin will play his first, albeit non-cap, match for the Wallabies if called into the fray. Waratahs scrum-half Brett Sheehan will also make his first appearance of the tour as Deans fulfils his promise to give every member of the squad playing time.
Flanker George Smith will lead the side in the absence of injured skipper Stirling Mortlock. Mortlock, fly-half Matt Giteau and lock Nathan Sharpe were not considered for selection due to injury.
Deans has also given hooker Stephen Moore, winger Peter Hynes and props Al Baxter and Benn Robinson a well-deserved rest. Giteau and Moore were the only two players who featured in all 14 Tests in 2008, while Mortlock, Baxter and Hynes missed just one match each.
Winger Lote Tuqiri makes his long-awaited return to the starting XV after working his way back to full fitness following knee surgery at the conclusion of the Tri-Nations. In the absence of the tour's stand-out performer Giteau, Quade Cooper takes over at fly-half.
Australia: James O'Connor; Lote Tuqiri, Ryan Cross, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Digby Ioane; Quade Cooper, Brett Sheehan; Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Matt Dunning, Mark Chisholm, Hugh McMeniman, Dean Mumm, George Smith, Richard Brown
Replacements: Adam Freier, Ben Alexander, Peter Kimlin, David Pocock, Luke Burgess, Lachie Turner, Drew Mitchell
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