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Australia make eight changes for Scotland


Mike Harris is back in the Wallaby starting line up

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Article Published: Thursday 21 November 2013


Australia have been forced to make eight changes, including four to the starting line-up in their team to play Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The changes come after nightmare week for new coach Ewen McKenzie who has just won his first back to back Test matches.

The Australians were rocked on Monday when coach Ewen McKenzie announced that six members of his tour squad in Europe would receive one-match bans for "inappropriate" drinking in Dublin ahead of the 32-15 win over Ireland.

In addition, McKenzie also sanctioned a further nine players for "breaches of internal team protocols".

Centre Tevita Kuridrani then received a five-week IRB ban for an illegal tackle and centre Matt Toomua was ruled out because of a hamstring injury.

That has resulted in a new midfield pairing of inside centre Mike Harris and outside centre Christian Leali'ifano, along with a new wing pairing of Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia.

For Leali'ifano and Tomane this match is their first in the starting team since they suffered injuries in Australia's 54-17 victory over Argentina during the Rugby Championship in October.

Feauai-Sautia also made his Test debut during that tournament against South Africa and will now receive his second cap for the Wallabies, while Harris, who has eight caps for Australia, gets his first start this year for the team.

An additional four changes have been made to the bench with prop Ben Alexander, backrower Ben McCalman and versatile backs Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley all coming into the matchday squad.

McKenzie said he was expecting his squad to make the most of their opportunities following the turmoil of the week.

"We've made some difficult selection decisions this week and now I'll be looking to see how those individuals with an opportunity respond to the challenge," McKenzie said.

"All Spring Tour I've been impressed by the competition we've been able to create in a number of positions. Now, some of those guys get a chance to impress in new roles this week.

"Christian hasn't had a great deal of experience at outside centre but he is a class player and we're confident he can adjust to the position. We'll be asking him to bring the things he does well to the game and nothing more.

"At the other end, we have the luxury of naming an unchanged forward pack from last week's win. I was really impressed by how they stood up against a stout Ireland pack and now it's their job to replicate and improve on that effort against Scotland."

McKenzie also said his squad would be determined to turn the tables on Scotland after losing their past two matches in 2009 (9-8) and 2012 (9-6).

"Our main focus right now is to get our own backyard in order and start building momentum by winning consecutive games," he said.

"We took a step forward last week by scoring our first back-to-back win of the year, but now it's about getting three in a row.

"However, Scotland is also a team that has gotten the better of Australia in the recent past and has won the past two games. This is an important match for the group to get right."

The Australia XV, named on Thursday to play Scotland in a one-off Test match at Murrayfield on Saturday:-

Australia

Israel Folau; Joe Tomane, Christian Leali'ifano, Mike Harris, Chris Feauai-Sautia; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Ben Mowen (capt), Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy; James Horwill, Rob Simmons; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper

Replacements: Saia Fainga'a, Ben Alexander, Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Ben McCalman, Nic White, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley

 
 
Rugby Championship Standings
Nation Games Points    
P W L D PF PA PD BP Ttl
1. New Zealand 6 6 0 0 202 115 87 3 28
2. South Africa 6 4 2 0 203 117 86 2 19
3. Australia 6 2 4 0 133 170 -37 1 9
4. Argentina 6 0 6 0 88 224 -136 2 2
                     
Updated each Monday in order to verify with officials
 
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