Wallabies ring the changes ahead of Tri-Nations Test
July 20, 2011
Fans of the Wallabies will hope Quade Cooper's return will lead to a win in the opening game of the 2011 Tri-Nations © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans has rung the changes for the opening game of the Tri-Nations against South Africa at the ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
Australia's Matt Giteau is the highest profile casualty from the side which lost 32-23 to Samoa on Sunday with Reds fly-half Quade Cooper coming into the side in place of the 92-Test cap utility back. Giteau fails to make the 22 with Deans favouring a five - two split on the bench between forwards and backs. Cooper's Reds team-mate Will Genia replaces Melbourne Rebels' Nick Phipps at scrum-half.
Future Melbourne Rebels' fullback Kurtley Beale and wing James O'Connor also return to bolster the backline. There are three changes to the forward pack, with Reds locks James Horwill and Rob Simmons forcing Nathan Sharpe to the bench and Sitaleki Timani out of the squad. Openside flanker David Pocock returns from a foot injury and takes the place of Matt Hodgson. Saia Fainga'a is joined on the replacements bench by his brother Anthony while Pek Cowan will hope to make his impact from the bench.
South Africa coach Peter de Villiers will give Test debuts to props Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger and loose forward Ashley Johnson on Saturday. They will be joined by uncapped scrum-half Charl McLeod if he gets his opportunity from the bench. The second-row sees Ulster lock Johann Muller and Flip van der Merwe get the chance to state their claim with Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield sitting out the Test.
The team is led by John Smit, in his 103rd Test, and contains four other Rugby World Cup winners in Wynand Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, Danie Rossouw and Johan Muller. A sixth, CJ van der Linde, is on the bench as the replacement prop. The joint top scorer in 2011 Super Rugby Bjorn Basson is joined on the wing by Lwazi Mvovo in a backline which also includes Gio Aplon and Juan de Jongh. Ulster's Ruan Pienaar and Morne Steyn are the experienced half-back pair for the Springboks.
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, David Pocock, Ben McCalman.
Replacements: Saia Fainga'a, Pek Cowan, Nathan Sharpe, Matt Hodgson, Scott Higginbotham, Nick Phipps, Anthony Fainga'a.
South Africa: Gio Aplon; Bjorn Basson, Juan de Jongh, Wynand Olivier, Lwazi Mvovo; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Dean Greyling, John Smit (captain), Werner Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Johann Muller, Deon Stegmann, Danie Rossouw, Ashley Johnson
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, Alistair Hargreaves, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Adrian Jacobs, Patrick Lambie
Referee: C Pollock (NZ) Assistant Referees: K Brown (NZ) V Munro (NZ) TMO: M Goddard (AUS)
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