Three Wallabies debutants to face B & I Lions

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has named his team to play the British and Irish Lions in the first Test with Waratahs outside back Israel Folau making his debut along with Brumbies pair of Ben Mowen and Christian Leali’ifano.

The starting line-up features only six players from Australia’s last Test outing, a win over Wales late last year, with the likes of captain James Horwill, Will Genia and James O’Connor returning from injury.

Leali’ifano, who starts at inside centre, and Folau, wing, join an exciting backline which sees the Gold Coast-raised James O’Connor team with Queensland halfback Will Genia as the inside back combination.

The selection reunites a combination which last appeared on the brief Spring Tour which bookended the 2011 season, where the pairing started against both the Barbarians at Twickenham and then Wales in Cardiff, with both matches being won.

Injury has hindered both since, with O’Connor being ruled out of all of last year’s Test programme, firstly due to a lacerated liver, and then by a hamstring complaint.

Genia featured until the mid-point of the inaugural Rugby Championship, signing off as the third captain employed by Australia during an extraordinary year when he damaged knee ligaments during the record fifth consecutive success over South Africa, which saw Australia retain the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate in Perth.

The inside back combination reflect personnel changes of a magnitude that just six of the starting XV from Australia’s most recent outing; the 14-12 win over a Warren Gatland-prepared Wales at Cardiff at the end of 2012, will feature in the run-on side for the Tom Richards Cup opener.

These players are fullback Berrick Barnes, centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, No 8 Wycliff Palu, lock Kane Douglas and the props, Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson.

Although the run-on line-up features three who are playing their first Tests, the starting XV is still an experienced one, boasting a combined 519 previous Test appearances.


15. Berrick Barnes ,14. Israel Folau ,13. Adam Ashley-Cooper ,12. Christian Leali’ifano ,11. Digby Ioane ,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. Pat McCabe,23. Kurtley Beale

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