Rugby World Cup 2011
Samo on the wing for Wallabies
Radike Samo (File)
Nelson - Loose forward Radike Samo has been drafted on to the wing and the only back reserves are two scrumhalves as injury-hit Australia named a stitched up team to play Russia on Saturday.
But the good news for the ravaged Australian World Cup squad is the return of their sole specialist openside flank, David Pocock, who has been sidelined by a back injury for the past two games.
Despite their patched-up look, the Wallabies should still be far too strong for the Bears and will qualify for the quarter-finals while Ireland and Italy contest the remaining playoff berth from Pool C on Sunday.
Coach Robbie Deans said his biggest concern about the match was the risk of further injuries to his already decimated side.
He has had to conjure up the best team possible from the players still standing, although Samo, who finished up on the wing in the Wallabies' most recent game against the United States, does have some experience there.
"He started as a wing, you saw him there last weekend. Obviously it has not been his typical position of late but with our circumstance it has become a necessity," Deans said.
At six-foot-five and 117kg Samo would be one of the biggest wings in world rugby and Deans said he should not be taken lightly.
"He's a remarkable athlete, he's 35 and still runs very fast and is good in contact so he's got a skill set that will be useful in the wide channels as well as through the middle."
James O'Connor gets the start at fullback and Drew Mitchell partners Samo on the wings with Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Quade Cooper and Luke Burgess completing the backline.
The remaining fit backs - scrumhalves Will Genia and Nick Phipps - fill the reserves bench with Deans saying a decision will be made at the time on who takes the field first.
Pocock's return bolsters the forwards as he shares the back row with Ben McCalman, and Scott Higginbotham while Nathan Sharpe and captain James Horwill will lock the scrum.
Of the squad's three hookers, Stephen Moore will start with Tatafu Polota Nau and Saia Fainga’a both on the bench to make up the numbers.Teams:
15 James O'Connor, 14 Radike Samo, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 James Horwill (captain), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota Nau, 17 Saia Fainga'a, 18 Salesi Ma’afu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Rocky Elsom, 21 Will Genia, 22 Nick PhippsRussia:
15 Vasily Artemyev, 14 Denis Simplikevich, 13 Andrey Kuzin, 12 Alexey Makovetskiy, 11 Vladimir Ostroushko, 10 Yury Kushnarev, 9 Alexander Yanyushkin, 8 Victor Gresev, 7 Vyacheslav Grachev, 6 Artem Fatakhov, 5 Adam Byrnes, 4 Alexander Voytov, 3 Ivan Prishchepenko, 2 Vladislav Korshunov (captain), 1 Sergey Popov
Substitutes: 16 Evgeny Matveev, 17 Vladimir Botvinnikov, 18 Alexey Travkin, 19 Andrey Garbuzov, 20 Alexander Shakirov, 21 Konstantin Rachkov, 22 Mikhail Babaev