Sharpe handed Wallabies captaincy
September 11, 2012
Nathan Sharpe will captain the Wallabies on Saturday © Getty Images
Veteran lock Nathan Sharpe will captain the Wallabies for their clash with the Pumas on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Sharpe steps into Will Genia's shoes with the scrum-half ruled out for six months. Sharpe will now hope to evade the 'captain's curse' that has struck previous skippers Genia, David Pocock and James Horwill. Sharpe is set to retire after the tournament and he claims it is an honour to captain Australia.
"To have the privilege of leading Australia in the first ever test to be played on the Gold Coast is an experience I will always treasure," said Sharpe. "It's important we keep our focus as a team, build on what we achieved last weekend in Perth, and add to that momentum.
"No one else in the squad has played Argentina before but I have and they will be tough, incredibly passionate and uncompromising. You only have to look at what they have achieved to date in their tournament matches to see what a threat they will be."
Genia's injury means that Nick Phipps gets the nod at scrum-half with Pat McCabe also handed a start at inside centre. Berrick Barnes switches to fullback with Kurtley Beale dropped to the bench.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has also opted to hand Kane Douglas his debut with him replacing Sitaleki Timani in the second-row. Tatafu Polota Nau gets the nod at hooker with Stephen Moore or Saia Faingaa on the bench.
Deans said of Douglas: "He's a big man so he will help anchor the scrum on the tight head side in a similar way to how Sita has. Kane also has the benefit of plenty of recent match play under his belt in club rugby, which will help make his introduction to Test rugby a little easier."
Australia: Berrick Barnes, Dom Shipperley, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Nick Phipps, Radike Samo, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Nathan Sharpe (captain), Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson.
Replacements: Stephen Moore/Saia Fainga'a, James Slipper, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Gill, Brett Sheehan, Anthony Fainga'a, Kurtley Beale
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