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Seven St.George Queensland Reds players have been named in the Wallabies side to take on the All Blacks this Saturday in Sydney with star halfback Will Genia chosen as vice-captain.
Genia will be joined in the starting line-up by Anthony Faingaa at inside centre, Digby Ioane on the wing, and Scott Higginbotham at No.8, while James Slipper, Rob Simmons and Radike Samo have all be selected on the bench.
A second Test starting role for Dave Dennis, a move from the side to the back of the scrum for Scott Higginbotham and a return to a starting midfield position for Anthony Faingaa, represent the only changes to the Wallabies starting side for this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney, from the line-up last presented.
Higginbotham, who started at blindside flanker during Australia’s most recent outing, when it shaded Wales 20-19 in the third and final Test of the Wales Tour at Allianz Stadium in June, takes over from the injured Wycliff Palu at No 8.
Faingaa, who made an impact off the bench in all three Tests against Wales, slots in for the injured Pat McCabe.
Coming off two three-day training camps, and a week’s pre-Test preparation in Sydney, the selectors: head coach Robbie Deans, coaching coordinator Tony McGahan and David Nucifora, have opted to run the same backline as that which started in the final Test against Wales aside from the injury-enforced change that has brought in Faingaa.
This means Berrick Barnes, who was man of the match in consecutive Tests against Wales, retains the flyhalf role, working outside of halfback and newly appointed Wallabies vice-captain, Will Genia.
The return of Samo to the Test stage continues his remarkable career journey. Prior to the June Test window, the veteran Fijian-born No 8, who last year returned to the Test arena after a seven-year absence, had been unable to maintain a regular position in the Queensland Reds match night squad.
The Qantas Wallabies team to play New Zealand in the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night (kick-off: 8pm AEST) is:
15. Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels)
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
13. Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs)
12. Anthony Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)
11. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)
10. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs)
9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds, vice-captain)
8. Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds)
7. David Pocock (Western Force, captain)
6. Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force)
4. Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs)
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
2. Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs)
1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
Run on Reserves:
18 JUNE 2013
17 JUNE 2013