Wallabies at full-strength, not so the Boks

Australia and South Africa have named contrasting sides for Saturday's Tri Nations opener in Sydney. [more]

Wallabies at full-strength, not so the Boks

Australia and South Africa have named contrasting sides for Saturday’s Tri Nations opener in Sydney.

The Wallabies, who are the Lions’ next opponents in 2013, have dropped Mat Giteau but recalled a host of star names, while the world champion Springboks are without 21 front-line players.

Australian head coach Robbie Deans rested a handful of big-name stars for last Sunday’s shock defeat to Samoa but he has readdressed the balance for the next stage of his side’s World Cup preparations.

Quade Cooper returns at fly-half having been given last week off due to his Super 15 winning exploits with the Reds, while his halfback partner Will Genia is back in the starting line up after previously being named on the bench for the same reasons.

Deans makes a total of seven changes from the side humbled 32-23 by Samoa at the same ANZ Stadium that will host Saturday’s fixture as the Wallabies look to bounce back from what critics have been describing as the lowest point in their history.

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Kurtly Beale starts at full back having joined Genia among the replacements last weekend, while James O’Connor comes back on to the wing in place of Rod Davies after being forced to withdraw from the side on the eve of the Samoa match.

Cooper takes over from Giteau at fly-half, with the later not included in the 22, and Genia replaces Rebels No9 Nick Phipps.

Star openside David Pocock has recovered from a minor foot injury, while Reds duo James Horrill and Rob Simmons come into the second row.

Pocock won the John Eales Medal for best Wallaby player last year, with Horwill skippering the Reds to Super 15 success earlier this month, and their inclusion sees Deans name the strongest team he has available to him.

“Last Sunday was a massive wake up call for the group. We can’t turn back the clock on that performance, it will stay with us as a reminder, but we do have total control as to how we respond,” was Deans’ assessment of the need to right some wrongs this time around.

“Last weekend, our standards were inadequate for what is required at Test level and we paid the price for that.

“There are no short cuts in Test rugby. There is no substitute for rolling up the sleeves and doing the little tasks that, while they might not carry the glamour, are critical for the overall success of the team. That is the challenge that we have ahead of us.”

South Africa, meanwhile, have named three debutants in their starting line up as they begin the away leg of the Tri Nations without players of the calibre of Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger.

Props Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger and Cheetahs No8 Ashley Johnson are given a chance to stake their World Cup claims in a side that includes only two players that started the first Test against the Lions two years ago.

Only Ruan Pieanaar, who began the win over the Lions in Durban at fly-half but is now named at scrum-half, and skipper John Smit remain from that side that beat the Lions 26-20.

“The new caps had outstanding Super Rugby seasons and this is an exciting opportunity for them,” said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

“They have been rewarded for their form and now it’s up to them. They have a chance to play themselves into the World Cup squad and hopefully they take their chances.

“We have got some new combinations, but there is a lot of potential in this side and the players are hungry for this chance. I hope we can come together very well and very quickly."

Australia side to face South Africa

15. Kurtley Beale
14. James O’Connor
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper 
12. Pat McCabe
11. Digby Ioane 
10. Quade Cooper        
9. Will Genia 

8. Ben McCalman 
7. David Pocock 
6. Rocky Elsom (captain)
5. James Horwill  
4. Rob Simmons 
3. Ben Alexander 
2. Stephen Moore
1. Sekope Kepu 

Replacements

16. Saia Fainga’a
17. Pekahou Cowan
18. Nathan Sharpe       
19. Matt Hodgson   
20. Scott Higginbotham
21. Nick Phipps    
22. Anthony Fainga’a

South Africa

15 Gio Aplon
14 Bjorn Basson
13 Juan de Jongh
12 Wynand Olivier
11 Lwazi Mvovo
10 Morne Steyn
9 Ruan Pienaar

8 Ashley Johnson
7 Danie Rossouw
6 Deon Stegmann
5 Johann Muller
4 Flip van der Merwe
3 Werner Kruger Vodacom
2 John Smit (captain)
1 Dean Greyling

Replacements

16 Chiliboy Ralepelle
17 CJ van der Linde
18 Alistair Hargreaves
19 Jean Deysel
20 Charl McLeod
21 Adrian Jacobs
22 Patrick Lambie

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