Deans' big guns to face rattled Boks
July 20, 2010
Benn Robinson returns to bolster the Wallabies © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans welcomes back three of his big guns for Saturday night's Tri-Nations encounter with South Africa in Brisbane.
Loose-head Benn Robinson and lock Nathan Sharpe both add their experience to the pack while livewire Reds scrum-half Will Genia links up with franchise team-mate Quade Cooper at halfback. The return of Robinson is a major boost given the fragility of the Wallabies' scrum in June Tests against England.
Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore will start from the bench after a two-month absence with a broken jaw, giving Reds youngster Saia Faingaa his first taste of Tri-Nations rugby after a June debut. Western Force flanker Ben McCalman was a late addition to the replacements after injury ruled Matt Hodgson out of the game and he will make his international debut should he join the action.
In a surprise switch, Adam Ashley-Cooper and James O'Connor swap positions in the back three, with the versatile Ashley-Cooper reverting to fullback and O'Connor shifting to the unfamiliar wing position.
The Springboks are coming off the back of consecutive losses at the hands of New Zealand and Peter De Villiers has shuffled his pack in an effort to reverse his side's fortunes. There are four changes to the starting XV and a further five among the replacements from last week's 31-17 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks in Wellington.
Ruan Pienaar has been given the nod at scrum-half ahead of the under-fire Ricky Januarie, with the Stormers No.9 missing out on the 22. Francois Hougaard, who can also cover the wing berths, starts on the bench. Gio Aplon is promoted to the starting line-up on the wing in place of the suspended Jean de Villiers.
BJ Botha starts ahead of CJ van der Linde at tight-head while Ryan Kankowski, primarily a No.8, replaces Stormers youngster Francois Louw on the flank.
Australia: A Ashley Cooper (Brumbies); J O'Connor (Western Force), R Horne (NSW Waratahs), M Giteau (Brumbies), D Mitchell (NSW Waratahs); Q Cooper (Reds), W Genia (Reds); B Robinson (NSW Waratahs), S Faingaa (Reds), S Ma'afu (Brumbies), D Mumm (NSW Waratahs), N Sharpe (Western Force), R Elsom (Brumbies, capt), D Pocock (Western Force), R Brown (Western Force)
Replacements: S Moore (Brumbies), J Slipper (Reds), R Simmons (Reds), B McCalman(Western Force), L Burgess (NSW Waratahs), B Barnes (NSW Waratahs), K Beale (NSW Waratahs)
South Africa: Z Kirchner (Bulls); G Aplon (Stormers), J Fourie (Stormers), W Olivier (Bulls), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Bulls), R Pienaar (Sharks); G Steenkamp (Bulls), J Smit (Sharks, capt), BJ Botha (Ulster), D Rossouw (Bulls), V Matfield (Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), R Kankowski (Sharks), P Spies (Bulls)
Replacements: C Ralepelle (Bulls), CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs), F van der Merwe (Bulls), D Potgieter (Bulls), F Hougaard (Bulls), B James (Bath), J de Jongh (Stormers)
Referee: George Clancy (Ire)