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Deans keeps faith with O'Connor

27 June 2013

  • Just two changes for Australia despite injury woes in Brisbane
  • James O'Connor handed another chance at fly half
James O'Connor

Photo: Getty Images

Australia head coach Robbie Deans has retained the same pack of forwards for Saturday’s second Test, only making two enforced changes to his backline and keeping faith with maligned fly half James O’Connor.

Despite suffering a catalogue of causalities over an extremely physical contest in Brisbane last weekend, the Wallabies would have snatched victory in the final play without an untimely slip by place-kicker Kurtley Beale.

Indeed, the hosts won plenty of plaudits for their doggedness and industry in going down to a 23-21 defeat.

With that performance in mind, Deans has stuck with captain James Horwill, who leads an identical eight from lock. Ben Alexander wins his 50th cap at tighthead, and has a pivotal role to play in the scrum opposite Mako Vunipola.

Deans has needed to patch up his three-quarter line slightly, though, bringing in Beale for the concussed Berrick Barnes at full back and Brumbies wing Joe Tomane for Digby Ioane, who has a shoulder complaint.

Kurtley Beale

Photo: Getty Images

James O’Connor gets another chance to prove his credentials as an international fly half, while Israel Folau will want to continue the blockbuster start to international rugby union that brought him a brilliant brace at Suncorp Stadium.

Although both were forced from the field in Brisbane, Christian Leali’ifano and Adam Ashley-Cooper resume their midfield partnership – the former set to take over goal-kicking duties after Australia spurned 14 points during the series-opener.

New South Wales Waratah Rob Horne is named among the replacements following the recurrence of Pat McCabe’s neck injury, while uncapped Jesse Mogg – who kicked three penalties in the Brumbies’ 14-12 victory over the Lions a fortnight ago – has an opportunity to make a Test debut from the bench.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.

Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg.