Wallabies unchanged for All Blacks clash
September 15, 2009
Coach Robbie Deans and his Wallabies side emerged out of the shadows with victory over South Africa last time out © Getty Images
Australia have named an unchanged side for this Saturday's Tri-Nations clash with New Zealand in Wellington.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has had the luxury of picking the same starting 15 who stunned eventual Tri-Nations champions the Springboks 21-6 in Brisbane on September 5.
The only doubts were over hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and winger Lachie Turner, both carrying rib injuries, but they got through today's contact session to prove their fitness. Waratahs fly-half Kurtley Beale will travel as 23rd man as cover for Turner.
It means Deans' exciting young backline get another chance to show their wares, with youngsters James O'Connor and Will Genia named to start again at fullback and halfback respectively after impressive displays in Brisbane. Utility Adam Ashley Cooper will remain at centre in the absence of the injured Stirling Mortlock.
The new-look front row of Polota-Nau, Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson remained intact after a powerful showing against the Boks. Captain George Smith stays at No.8, with young Western Force flanker David Pocock earning another start at openside and Wycliff Palu again on the bench.
"We stepped up to a new level, in terms of our performance, last time and that was pleasing," Deans said. "But life goes on. We can't live in the moment and rest on our laurels. History, both in terms of Australia's overall record in New Zealand, and our recent experience there, shows how difficult this weekend's assignment will be."
The Wallabies, who've lost their last five tests against the All Blacks, fly to Wellington tomorrow. The losing side will claim the Tri-Nations wooden spoon for 2009.
Australia: James O'Connor, Lachie Turner, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Will Genia, George Smith (captain), David Pocock, Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, James Horwill, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.
Replacements: Stephen Moore, Pek Cowan, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Peter Hynes.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic