Rugby

McKenzie rings changes

2013-11-21 13:48
Ewen McKenzie (Getty)

Murrayfield - Australia coach Ewen McKenzie was forced to name an experimental backline for Saturday's test against Scotland at Murrayfield after injury further hampered a squad already depleted by disciplinary breaches.

The coach handed one-match bans to six members of his tour party and warned another nine on Monday after they breached team protocol with a drinking session ahead of their 32-15 victory over Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Cummins were two of the six suspended for the 'inappropriate levels of alcohol' meaning Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia will be the starting wingers in Edinburgh.

Tomane will win just his eighth cap while Feauai-Sautia earns his second.

Front rowers Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson lost their place on the bench with Saia Fainga'a and Ben Alexander taking over, while openside flanker Liam Gill was replaced by Ben McCalman.

Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan was the only one of the six sanctioned players named in Saturday's squad with McKenzie forced to put him on the bench because of a lack of front row numbers in his tour party.

He will serve his one-match ban in the test against Wales in Cardiff next week.

McKenzie's squad was hit further by a hamstring injury to Matt Toomua and a five-week ban for Tevita Kurirani after a dangerous tackle in Dublin, meaning goalkicker Christian Leali'ifano will form a new centre pairing with the versatile Mike Harris.

Harris has played eight tests in a variety of positions for the Wallabies.

Despite its relative inexperience, the backline boasts Israel Folau at fullback and the accomplished halfback pairing of Will Genia and Quade Cooper. Understudies Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley were further changes named on the bench.

Despite the high number of changes, McKenzie remained confident of a win over the struggling Scots.

"We've made some difficult selection decisions this week and now I'll be looking to see how those individuals with an opportunity respond to the challenge," McKenzie said in a statement after announcing the team on Thursday.

"All Spring Tour, I've been impressed by the competition we've been able to create in a number of positions. Now, some of those guys get a chance to impress in new roles this week."

McKenzie, who took over from Robbie Deans after the home series defeat by the British and Irish Lions in July, has enjoyed a promising European tour after a tough opening against Southern Hemisphere opposition in the Rugby Championship.

A narrow 20-13 loss to England was followed by a blow out 50-20 win over Italy in Rome before the Wallabies cut open Ireland with ease in their four try success in Dublin.

Scotland were beaten 28-0 at home by South Africa last week but are aiming for three straight wins over the Wallabies following a 9-8 home victory four years ago and a surprise 9-6 success last year in Newcastle.

Teams:

Scotland:

15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick de Luca, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 David Denton, 7 Kelly Brown (captain), 6 Johnnie Beattie, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant

Substitutes: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Kieran Low, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Max Evans

Australia:

15 Israel Folau, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Christian Leali'ifano, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper

Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Pady Ryan, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nic White, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Bernard Foley



Read more on:    wallabies  |  ewen mckenzie  |  rugby
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