Australian coach Robbie Deans will blood five new caps against Scotland on Tuesday night.
The Wallabies kick-off their 2012 test schedule against Scotland in Newcastle this week before meeting Wales in the first of three internationals in Brisbane four days later.
With skipper James Horwill ruled out of all four games with a hamstring injury, Deans has handed the captain’s armband to Western Force skipper David Pocock and given debuts to Queensland Reds duo Luke Moraham and Mike Harris, Brumbies pair Joe Tomane and Dan Palmer and Waratahs back rower Dave Dennis.
Harris and Tomane are both New Zealand-born, although the latter played for Australian Schoolboys. Harris is a former New Zealand Under 20 cap Mike Harris who qualifies for the Wallabies through his Australian grandmother.
He figures at inside centre and will be charged with the goalkicking duties, while ex-rugby league player Tomane starts on the right wing. Palmer will start at tight head prop, while Dennis will wear the No 6 jersey
Dennis and Tomane were among five of Deans’ starting XV against the Scots who played Super 15 matches over the weekend, while the other 10 were rested due to byes.
“With another Test four days after Scotland, and given the injuries that we’ve had to deal with, we’ve effectively had to select two combinations to win two Test matches at the same time,” said Deans.
Scotland beat the Wallabies 9-8 in their last outing at Murrayfiled to end a 16-game losing run against Australia. That earned them the Hopetoun Cup for the first time and Deans is wary of the threat his side will face on Tuesday night.
“They’ll be hungry and will sense the opportunity, striking us first up on a limited preparation,” Deans says. “A feature of the Scottish team under Andy Robinson is that they are very well organised. The Scottish teams of my experience have always been extremely physical in their approach, so they will be very direct and come right at us.”
The team to play Wales will be named on Thursday once the Wallabies squad has moved on to Brisbane.
Australia (v Scotland): Luke Morahan (Queensland Reds); Joe Tomane (Brumbies), Anthony Fainga’a (Queensland Reds), Mike Harris (Queensland Reds), Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds); Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs), Will Genia (Queensland Reds); James Slipper (Queensland Reds), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Dan Palmer (Brumbies), Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs), Nathan Sharpe (Western Force), Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs), David Pocock (Western Force, captain), Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds)
Replacements: Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds), Michael Hooper (Brumbies), Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels), Pat McCabe (Brumbies), Adam Ashley Cooper (NSW Waratahs)