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Barnes at fullback as Australia change four


Berrick Barnes has been named at fullback

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Article Published: Thursday 15 November 2012


Australia have named their team to face England at Twickenham with Berrick Barnes at fullback as one of four changes to the team that lost to France in Paris.

The four changes have been split equally between the forwards and the backs.

Fullback Berrick Barnes and winger Digby Ioane return to the backline, in the places of Mike Harris who drops to the bench and Pat McCabe who sits out this week.

In the forwards econd rower Sitaleki Timani and tighthead prop Ben Alexander also resume, taking over from Kane Douglas and Sekope Kepu respectively.

After starting last weekend against France, Harris and Kepu have been named among Australia's eight replacements.

Injury has once again played a hand in the selection, with McCabe (neck), Douglas (knee) and flanker David Pocock (calf strain) all ruled out of the equation due to fitness concerns.

Pocock, who captained the Wallabies through the June Tests and in the opening game of the inaugural Rugby Championship, had his expected return from a knee injury delayed by a tight calf.

Douglas suffered damage to a knee ligament during last week's Test against France, while McCabe was ruled out by neck soreness, having experienced stiffness through the recovery period since the Test in Paris.

Of the returnees, Ioane, Timani and Alexander are all good to go again following injury-enforced layoffs; while Barnes made his return from a two-game injury spell by playing the final 26 minutes off the bench at the Stade de France.

Ioane hasn't figured since scoring in Australia's 25-19 win over Argentina at Rosario which locked up a second-placed finish for the Wallabies in the inaugural Rugby Championship.

The powerful winger has been sidelined from the two matches since by a knee injury, resuming full contact training last week in Paris.

Alexander also hasn't featured since the game in South America due to a wrist problem, while Timani was forced off after 21 minutes of Australia's 18-18 draw with New Zealand at Brisbane last month due to tightness in his lower back.

The Wallabies arrived in London to continue the Spring Tour last Sunday after a disappointing first up loss to France where the visitors simply made too many mistakes against an inspired home side.

Coach Robbie Deans says that, while no one within the playing group was shying away from the disappointment of that defeat, and Australia's short comings on the night; the Wallabies were not getting bogged down by the baggage of that performance either.

"The key focus has been to take the meaning from it, and put that learning into practice for this week, both through our preparation and then onto the game itself," Deans says.

"There aren't too many challenges in Test rugby that are greater than playing England at Twickenham. We are playing an England side that has been building up under its new leadership, and will see Saturday as the chance to lay down a marker for the future. They will be excited by the opportunities they saw out of our performance last weekend.

"But it goes both ways. Saturday is a significant opportunity for us as a group as well. It's going to be a great occasion, and one that the whole group is looking forward to."

The starting team shows just five names that featured when Australia last played England at Twickenham two years ago.

On that day England won 35-18 and the players involved were Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nathan Sharpe, Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson while fullback Barnes and hooker Stephen Moore came off the bench.

Australia

15. Berrick Barnes ,14. Digby Ioane ,13. Adam Ashley-Cooper ,12. Ben Tapuai ,11. Nick Cummins ,10. Kurtley Beale ,9. Nick Phipps ,8. Wycliff Palu ,7. Michael Hooper ,6. Dave Dennis ,5. Nathan Sharpe (c),4. Sitaleki Timani ,3. Ben Alexander ,2. Tatafu Polota Nau ,1. Benn Robinson

Replacements : 16. Stephen Moore ,17. James Slipper ,18. Sekope Kepu ,19. Radike Samo ,20. Liam Gill ,21. Brett Sheehan ,22. Mike Harris ,23. Drew Mitchell

 
 
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