Wallabies unchanged for All Blacks test
August 4, 2011
Burgess is back in the Wallabies mix after suffering a fractured hand © Getty Images
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has opted for consistency over change and will field the same XV which took the field against South Africa to face the All Blacks on Saturday in their Tri-Nations clash.
Halfback Luke Burgess, lock Dan Vickerman and winger Lachie Turner have been included in the 22-man line-up named today for the match at Eden Park. Burgess returns from a fractured hand to provide back up for Will Genia, while Vickerman's addition comes after he played 80 minutes of club rugby last weekend.
Vickerman returned to the Test arena last month in Australia's loss to Samoa, when he had 30 minutes off the bench in his first Wallabies appearance since 2008, after a period studying in England. He replaces another experienced campaigner in Nathan Sharpe, who didn't make the cut for the trip across the Tasman.
The selection of Turner means the Wallabies will have a four-three split between forwards and backs on the bench, as opposed to the 5-2 in their two Tests so far this year.
Both the All Blacks and the Wallabies have opened their Tri-Nations campaigns with wins over South Africa and Australian coach Deans said the changes in his side for Eden Park were a case of horses for courses. He said the difference between a Test against the All Blacks and one against the Springboks was demonstrated in New Zealand's 40-7 victory over South Africa in Wellington last weekend.
"For the South Africans, it's physicality first, second and third," he said. "The All Blacks employ more width and rely on speed of recycle and movement.
"They play the game wider and faster, which is why the extra speed and additional backline resources are required on the bench."
New Zealand have won the past 11 Tests against Australia at Eden Park, but Deans said Saturday's match was about the present, rather than history. "The All Blacks do draw strength from their record at the ground, but playing at Eden Park is not something to be feared," the former Cantabrian said.
"It's a challenge - and an opportunity - to be embraced and enjoyed. Saturday is a great occasion. It will be an epic Bledisloe encounter and there have been some great ones over the years."
Deans said many visiting teams would be looking to achieve something special at Eden Park this year, with the stadium being the main focal point of the World Cup. "This weekend we're the lucky ones -- we get first crack."
Australia: Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Rocky Elsom (c), David Pocock, Ben McCalman
Replacements: Saia Fainga'a, Pek Cowan, Dan Vickerman, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Burgess, Anthony Fainga'a, Lachie Turner.
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