Rugby World Cup 2011

Beale named in Oz squad

2011-10-14 07:08
Kurtley Beale (File)

Auckland - Fullback Kurtley Beale will have to convince coach Robbie Deans he is fit to play for the Wallabies ahead of Sunday's Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at Eden Park.

Potent attacker Beale has been struggling with a hamstring injury, and although included in the Australia team announced on Friday was bracketed alongside utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper at No 15.

"We'll make that decision post-Captain's Run on Saturday morning," Deans said.

"He'll have to convince us that he's 100 percent. He ran this morning. He did a significant amount of running and he was comfortable, but in this position he's got to be at top end.

"He'll have to go again tomorrow morning and show that he has had no ill-effects off the back of the work he did today and then go again and convince himself and us that he's good to go."

Deans has showed his hand with all-rounder Ashley-Cooper named in two positions after he was also bracketed with Anthony Fainga'a at outside centre.

Beale has twice left the field with the same hamstring strain during this tournament, going off 38 minutes into a pool match against the United States.

He was then rested from the final pool match against Russia before returning in the 11-9 quarter-final win over defending champions South Africa only to leave the field six minutes from the finish of last Sunday's gruelling match in Wellington.

Scans in Auckland subsequently confirmed a small strain and the Wallabies medical staff have since been working overtime to get Beale fit.

Pat McCabe, who has been troubled by an injured shoulder, has recovered sufficiently to be named at inside-centre.

While the starting forward pack remains the same that played South Africa last week, with prop Sekope Kepu fit following a rolled ankle, there was a change on the replacements bench.

Queensland Reds lock Rob Simmons has replaced Nathan Sharpe among the reserves.

That left Sharpe, who was hoping to play his 100th Test this weekend, stranded on 99 caps.

"Sharpie took the decision very well, he's a class act and throughout this year we've had a horses for courses approach, so it's not new territory," Deans said.

"Rob is athletic and he's got a slightly different skills set to Sharpie and we anticipate a lateral challenge from the All Blacks, we suspect they will use the ball side to side.

"They will see some opportunities to do that from our last outing last week and that's the point of difference between Simmons and Sharpe."

Australia, who beat New Zealand in the semi-finals of both the 1991 and 2003 World Cups, have not won a Test at Eden Park since 1986.

But former All Black Deans said: "The circumstances this weekend are unique.

"It's a tough place to play, and those are impressive numbers for sure, but they don't matter once Sunday night's match kicks off.

"Rugby World Cup elimination matches are stand alone contests. The pressure is divided equally on both sides as there is no tomorrow."


Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale/Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper/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

Subsitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Berrick Barnes, 22 Anthony Fainga'a/Rob Horne

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Brad Thorn, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Sonny Bill Williams 

* Click HERE for the latest RWC odds on BET.CO.ZA


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