Nic White retains Australia No.9 shirt
September 25, 2013
Nic White continues at scrum-half for the Wallabies © Getty Images
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has made a number of changes to his team ahead of their game against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.
James Horwill is named in the second-row after recovering from a hamstring injury and reclaims the captaincy from Ben Mowen who skippered the team to their round four win over Argentina.
In other changes to the side, Tevita Kuridrani starts at outside centre with Adam Ashley-Cooper shifting to the wing to replace the injured Nick Cummins. Joe Tomane is called upon to step into the suspended James O'Connor's shoes on the other flank.
Nic White keeps his place at scrum-half with Will Genia still relegated to the bench. He will be joined in the replacements by Benn Robinson and Chris Feauai-Sautia with the latter set to make his Test debut if he gets the nod from the bench.
"James has plenty of experience and we are going into a tough environment. He plays the game hard so it's timely that he is back," McKenzie said of Horwill's timely return from injury.
He added: "In our outside backs we've already been forced into change but Tomane on one wing is pretty straight forward. He is big and powerful and has been in the squad for a long time. The question after that is whether we wanted to bring an uncapped player onto the wing or go with Kuridrani, who has been training with the squad every week and has been used off the bench in two games.
"In the end we wanted to make things as smooth as possible while relying on as much experience as we can. We're going with guys who have been training with us consistently since the beginning of the tournament.
"Adam Ashley-Cooper also has great capacity to cover a number of positions and we're always going to use him in different roles. With his experience he knows what's required and the role is something he feels comfortable doing. It won't change the way he contributes.
"Benn Robinson also comes in, which if you look at it in its totality, means our bench is structured to give us plenty of impact later in the game. That's where we've been at our weakest so far. Bringing in experience later in the game can only lift your performance and at the same time they can stake a claim for a further opportunity in the starting team."
The Qantas Wallabies enter Saturday's match against South Africa with possession of the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate and will retain the silverware for a fourth straight year with a victory at Newlands Stadium.
Victory would also be Australia's first in Cape Town since 1992, which was the first clash between the two nations since South Africa's return following the end of the apartheid. "We approach every game as though we can win it and I've never felt we can't go out there with that expectation. No one will back us but that sits fine with us," McKenzie said.
"Two wins in a row would be significant for this team, especially winning in South Africa given their current circumstance. We've got a great opportunity to be a thorn in what they are trying to do."
Australia: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane, Quade Cooper, Nic White, James Slipper, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Rob Simmons, James Horwill (captain), Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Ben Mowen
Replacements: Saia Faingaa, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Sitaleki Timani, Ben McCalman, Will Genia, Matt Toomua, Chris Feauai-Sautia
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