Tri-Nations

Deans rings changes

2011-08-23 07:05
Robbie Deans (Gallo)

Sydney - Australia coach Robbie Deans recalled centre Anthony Fainga'a and forwards Dan Vickerman and Radike Samo on Tuesday for the Tri-Nations decider against New Zealand in Brisbane.

Lock Vickerman will join newly appointed Wallabies captain James Horwill, who will lead his country for the first time, in the second row with outside centre Fainga'a winning his seventh cap.

Fainga'a inclusion means Adam Ashley-Cooper switches to the wing to take over from James O'Connor, who was suspended after he missed the Rugby World Cup team announcement following what local media reported was a night out.

Australia will be looking for their first victory over the All Blacks in Brisbane for 19 years although the Bledisloe Cup is beyond them having lost to New Zealand 30-14 in Auckland earlier this month.

Australia and New Zealand both have nine points from their three matches after the All Blacks lost to South Africa on Saturday while the Wallabies beat the Springboks a fortnight ago to keep their chances of a first Tri-Nations title since 2001 alive.

"The group showed a lot of character to bounce back in South Africa but no one in our party is getting ahead of themselves," Deans said in a statement.

"The All Blacks are not the bench mark in world rugby without good reason. They give you nothing and pounce on any opportunities that you give them. To beat them, we will need to be disciplined, accurate, composed but, most of all, deserving."

Fijian-born number eight Samo returns to the starting line-up for the first time since 2004 and will be joined in the loose forwards by former captain Rocky Elsom.

South-African born Vickerman, who featured in the earlier loss to the All Blacks, replaces Nathan Sharpe, who started the 14-9 win over the Springboks in Durban.

"Dan offered go forward for us in the second half in Auckland, and has come on in his overall fitness since that night, while Anthony and Radike both made their presence felt in a big way in Durban," Deans added.

"We felt in each instance that their previous contributions warranted further opportunity this week."

Victory for Australia on Saturday would be a huge confidence boost ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand which starts on September 9.

Australia, who are grouped with Ireland, Italy, US and Russia in Pool B, have been tipped by many to reach the final in New Zealand and face the All Blacks but Deans remains guarded about his team's chances.

"Obviously there is a lot of rugby coming up in New Zealand, and there will inevitably be expectations around the impact that this weekend might have on that but while a lot is going to happen beyond Saturday, we can't afford to - and won't - be looking beyond this game."

Teams

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Dan Vickerman, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu

Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 TBC

New Zealand:

TBA

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