Durban - Scott Higginbotham and Nathan Sharpe
have been given opportunities to press for Rugby World Cup selection after
being recalled for Australia's Tri-Nations Test against the Springboks
Backrower Higginbotham and lock Sharpe were named
on Thursday to replace Ben McCalman and Rob Simmons for the match against
the defending World Cup champions at King's Park.
McCalman has been moved to the reserves, while Simmons has been rested. Sitaleki Timani will be the reserve lock on the bench.
No 8 Radike Samo makes a long awaited return to the Australian squad,
named to a reserves bench that comprises a 5-2 split of forwards to
backs. Winger Lachie Turner was dropped from the squad which lost in New
Zealand last weekend.
Coach Robbie Deans said Simmons was being
given time to recover from a sore shoulder, but he was not in doubt for
selection to the World Cup squad.
"Rob has been troubled for a
while now by a shoulder niggle. With so much rugby still to come this
year, and a physically taxing afternoon in prospect, we thought it
prudent to pull back on his involvement for now to allow his shoulder to
rest up," Deans said.
Sharpe returns to the Wallabies XV after
being overlooked last week for the Auckland match against the All
Blacks, while Higginbotham is set make his run-on debut in the starting
lineup after impressive performances off the bench this year.
has made a genuine impact in each of his test outings to date this
year, and we'll be looking for him to do the same from the start this
week," Deans said.
Prop Salesi Ma'afu was selected on the bench in
his first Wallabies match this year after missing the end of the Super
rugby season with a fractured arm. Ma'afu played in 10 Tests in 2010 in
his first year as a Wallaby, starting in all six Tri-Nations matches.
in good nick physically, has scrummed well in training and, most
importantly, has been there before," Deans said. "Salesi knows what to
expect in these types of contests. We will be looking for him to add
value when he gets his chance."
Australia beat an under-strength
South Africa 39-20 in the opening Tri-Nations match at Sydney last
month, but a full-strength team lost 30-14 to the more experienced All
Blacks last weekend.
Deans is expecting the Springboks lineup, to
be named later on Thursday, to be far more experienced than the squad which
toured Australia and New Zealand to open the Tri-Nations.
last week that the All Blacks hit the ground running with a group that
featured a number of experienced players coming off a brief break, and
the Springboks will be no different," Deans said.
handle the opening onslaught in Auckland and that set us on the back
foot for the remainder of the match," he said. "The South Africans won't
have missed that. More of the same will be coming. It is important we
adapt better and get ourselves into the contest from the start."
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (captain), 5 James Horwill, 4 Nathan Sharpe, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Substitutes: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Salesi Maafu, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Radike Samo, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Anthony Faingaa