Lions in Australia

Deans puts faith in O'Connor

2013-06-27 07:48
James O'Connor (AFP)

Melbourne - The Wallabies on Thursday made two enforced changes with Kurtley Beale and Joe Tomane coming into a recast backline for the must-win second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne this weekend.

Beale, who missed a winning penalty attempt in the final minutes of the Wallabies' 23-21 first Test loss, replaces the injured Berrick Barnes at fullback while Tomane takes over from wing Digby Ioane.

Coach Robbie Deans retained James O'Connor at flyhalf despite his mixed reviews in last week's Brisbane Test and following pictures published in a British newspaper showing him out at 04:00 on Wednesday after watching his Super Rugby team, the Melbourne Rebels, fall 35-0 to the Lions.

Beale was reportedly with him, although both players denied they were drinking and a Wallabies spokesperson told reporters neither broke team rules.

Australia must win the Test at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium to keep the series alive for the final game in Sydney on Saturday week.

Christian Lealiifano was cleared to play at inside centre after his Test debut in Brisbane was cruelly cut short in the opening minute in making a tackle on opposing Lions centre Jonathan Davies.

Lealiifano received the green light after undergoing extensive post-concussion tests and will resume the goal-kicking role, which fell to O'Connor and Beale with little success in his absence.

Centre Pat McCabe is out for the rest of the year after sustaining a neck injury during last weekend's Test loss, while Ioane damaged his right shoulder and is also out for the series.

Adam Ashley-Cooper gave the Wallabies' hopes a boost when he was named at outside-centre after finishing the first Test with shoulder trouble.

In other changes, midfielder Rob Horne and uncapped fullback Jesse Mogg were both added to the reserves bench.

The inclusion of Tomane represents a second Test cap for the Brumbies wing, more than 12 months after he made his debut for Australia against Scotland last year.

The Australian forward pack is unchanged from the opening Test, with front-rower Ben Alexander set to earn his 50th test cap.

Alexander joins Al Baxter (69), current frontrow partner Benn Robinson (57) and Ewen McKenzie (51) as the only players to have achieved 50 Tests for Australia.

It will be the first time the Wallabies will go into a Test match with all three starting front-rowers having played in excess of 50 Test matches.

There was no place among the replacements for 110-Test flank and sole Wallabies' 2001 series survivor George Smith, who was called up to the squad this week.

The Wallabies will be aiming to repeat their victory in the second Test of the last 2001 Lions tour after they had lost the opening Test in Brisbane and went on to win the series.



15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson

Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg

British and Irish Lions:

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Makovina Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Sean O'Brien, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Alex Cuthbert

Read more on:    wallabies  |  lions in australia  |  rugby

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