Wallabies field weakened XV

2012-10-04 15:00

Buenos Aires - Sitaleki Timani has switched from lock to flank in a bulked-up forward pack and Mike Harris will become the fifth fullback this season as injury-plagued Australia made five changes to their starting line-up against Argentina for the last Rugby Championship match in Rosario on Saturday.

The Australians were battered in a 31-8 loss to South Africa in Pretoria last weekend, playing a man short for the last 14 minutes and losing for the third time in five Tests.

The Wallabies will be desperate to avoid back-to-back defeats in the first year of the expanded four-team southern hemisphere competition but go into the Test as underdogs despite the fact Argentina are yet to win a match in the tournament.

Under-fire coach Robbie Deans will start Timani on the blindside flank, instead of Dave Dennis, in a bid to increase the size of the pack. Harris was named at fullback when both Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley-Cooper were ruled out through injuries. He will also take on the goalkicking duties.

Nick Cummins was selected on the wing and will become the 11th new cap for Australia in a season in which 38 players have undertaken national duties.

"We know that the Pumas will be coming straight at us, and will be looking to profit in the collision in the same way that the Springboks did last week," Deans said.

"We've addressed that, both internally in our discussions, but also with our selection, where we have gone for the players we feel are best suited to that approach."

Ben Tapuai moves into the midfield to replace Ashley-Cooper, while James Slipper was promoted to loosehead prop, switching roles with Benn Robinson. Timani has played all six of his previous Tests in the second row, but has moved to the backrow in a starting team containing three locks.

"As with the backs, we've looked to increase our physicality to counter the direct force that will undoubtedly be coming the other way," Deans said.

"Although he hasn't played at six in Test matches, Sita does have some background in the position, and he's coming in relatively fresh after a four-week injury break."

Australia have won 13 of the previous 18 Tests against Argentina, including a come-from-behind win at the Gold Coast last month, and one match has been drawn.

Teams:

Argentina:

TBA

Australia:

15 Mike Harris, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Sitaleki Timani, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Dave Dennis, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Dominic Shipperley

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