Kepu starts as Fardy returns

2013-11-14 13:54
Ewen McKenzie (Getty)

Dublin - Prop Sekope Kepu has been given a starting spot by Australia coach Ewen McKenzie for Saturday's Test against Ireland in Dublin.

The 125kg (275lb) Kepu has been brought in by McKenzie, himself a former Test prop, after Ben Alexander was rested on doctor's orders.

The Wallabies were overpowered up front in their last meeting with Ireland, a 15-6 loss in Auckland at the 2011 World Cup, and know they can't afford a repeat this weekend.

Elsewhere, backrow Scott Fardy returns to the starting side after suffering concussion in the 20-13 tour opening loss to England at Twickenham, while Rob Simmons starts in his more familiar position of lock after playing blindside flanker in last week's 50-20 thrashing of Italy in Turin.

"The breakdown is always a key area to any game, but Ireland has been especially vocal this week on the importance they are placing on attacking us there," McKenzie said.

"It will be important for us to be extremely accurate at the breakdown, but overall we've gone with a forward pack that is quite capable of dominating in that area, especially with one of our best operators in Scott Fardy coming back from injury."

Australia have yet to record successive wins in 2013 and McKenzie added: "We'll be looking forward to the challenge and also to the opportunity of building some momentum by winning back-to-back games for the first time this year.

"In terms of Ben Alexander, we've taken the advice of medical staff that the best option for him this week was to have a rest."

But the Australia back division remained unchanged for the third straight match on tour.

"It's pleasing that we are beginning to build strong combinations and partnerships in our backs, including those players on the bench and on the fringes, and we're expecting the more time they spend together the better they will be," McKenzie said.

"They've been able to find the try line quite a bit over the past month and you can sense they are feeling more comfortable and confident in each other and how we want to play the game.

"Still, we're under no illusion that these games are won up-front, and we'll continue to have high expectations that our forwards will provide us with a strong platform from which to play from."

Australia will be bidding for their first win in Dublin since a 30-14 success in 2005.



15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nic White, 22 Christian Leali'ifano, 23 Joe Tomane

New Zealand

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow,  22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ryan Crotty

Read more on:    wallabies  |  sekope kepu  |  rugby

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