Wallabies rest Reds stars

Australia head coach Robbie Deans has named just one Reds star in his starting XV to face Samoa this weekend. [more]

Wallabies rest Reds stars

Australia head coach Robbie Deans has named just one Reds star in his starting XV to face Samoa this weekend.

Deans, whose men face the Lions in two years time, has opted to rest the majority of the big names who guided the Queensland-based franchise to Super 15 glory last Saturday.

The Reds beat the Crusaders 18-13 to claim their first Super title since 1996 and their elongated season has prompted Deans to give the likes of Quade Cooper and James Horwill given a week off prior to the start of the Tri Nations.

The Faingaa brothers and in-form Rod Davies are among others to be rested completely, while star scrum-half Will Genia, prop James Hanson and flankers Scott Higginbotham and Beau Robinson named among the replacements.

"We assessed all of the Queensland guys when they joined us on Monday night and decided this was the best course for us," said Deans ahead of Sunday’s opening Test of the year.

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"They've had a big workload already this year. Given that our schedule is so congested, with five Test matches in seven weeks, we felt that now was realistically the only opportunity we had to give them a break."

Left wing Digby Ioane is the only Red selected to start in Sydney but Hanson and Higginbotham could both make their first appearances if called upon from the bench. If they are brought on at some stage at the ANZ Stadium, the uncapped Reds duo would follow Melbourne Rebels No9 and Waratahs lock Sitaleki Timani as Test debutants.

Deans is also set to hand first starts to inside centre Pat McCabe and openside flanker Matt Hodgson, while Matt Giteau moves infield to take over from Cooper at outside-half.

Skipper Rocky Elsom will feature in a competitive match for just the second time this year. The former Leinster blindside finally made his comeback from a chronic hamstring injury picked up at the back end of 2010 with an appearance for the Brumbies against the Western Force in late May but his return ended in tears as he picked up an ankle knock that has seen him sidelined him for a further seven weeks.

Mark Gerrard replaces Kurtly Beale at full back in what will be his first Test appearance since 2007, while second row Dan Vickerman features in the matchday squad for the first time in three years having taken time out to study at Cambridge University.

Star openside David Pocock wasn’t considered for selection due to a minor foot complaint and loosehead prop Ben Robinson has today been riled out for at least six months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in training.

Australia side to face Samoa

15. Mark Gerrard (Melbourne Rebels)
14. James O’Connor (Western Force)
13. Adam Ashley Cooper (Brumbies)
12. Pat McCabe (Brumbies)
11. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)
10. Matt Giteau (Brumbies)
9. Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels)

1. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
4. Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force)
6. Rocky Elsom (Brumbies, captain)
7. Matt Hodgson (Western Force)
8. Ben McCalman (Western Force)

Replacements

16. James Hanson (Queensland Reds)
17. TBC
18. Dan Vickerman (NSW Waratahs)
19. Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds)
20. Beau Robinson (Queensland Reds)
21. Will Genia (Queensland Reds)
22. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs)

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