Kurtley Beale poised to make Test debut


27/11/2009





Digby Ioane, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu and Benn Robinson have all been cleared, and today named in the Qantas Wallabies side that will play Wales at Cardiff on Saturday.

The quartet were all previously in doubt due to injury, with Ioane being a late withdrawal from last weekend's Test against Scotland at Edinburgh, while Genia, Palu and Robinson were forced from the field in that match.

Their roles were confirmed after they each successfully came through training at the University of Glamorgan today.

Ioane's return at centre in place of Ryan Cross is one of three changes to the Australian starting XV from that which took the field in the Hopetoun Cup Test match. The others see flanker David Pocock and lock Dean Mumm gain starts, for George Smith and Mark Chisholm respectively.

Pocock was rested last weekend against Scotland, after being heavily involved earlier in the tour, while Mumm has been rewarded for his all-round efforts.

As well as being a member of the Test match squad through the trip, the NSW Waratahs second rower also led the midweek Australian XV to victories over firstly Gloucester, and then Cardiff earlier this week.

Both Smith and Chisholm have been included on the bench, as has NSW Waratahs utility back Kurtley Beale and Western Force prop Matt Dunning.

Beale, who will make his debut if called onto the field, scored two tries from the unfamiliar wing position during Tuesday night's 31-3 win over Cardiff. He offers additional cover at flyhalf, inside centre, wing and fullback.

Cross, loose forward Richard Brown and prop Sekope Kepu have all been omitted after featuring in last week's match night squad.

Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says the recovery of the injured quartet is a big boost for his side as it bids to finish a demanding year strongly.

"They're all, in their own right, influential players, both in terms of their actions and the impact that they have on their mates around them, so it is good to have them all back on deck," Deans says.

"No one was more disappointed than us, in terms of the way our most recent Test outing turned out. It was an incredibly frustrating night for everyone involved, as it no doubt was for everyone who was watching back home. We can't alter that outcome now but we're not dwelling on it either. We will learn the lessons from that experience and move on. As a group, we are fortunate that we have another opportunity, so that we can attempt to end this tour, and the year, on a more positive note."

Scotland's 9-8 win last weekend has denied the Wallabies an opportunity to complete the European leg of their expedition unbeaten.

In Wales, they now face an opponent that edged out last year's tourists 21-18, to secure the James Bevan Trophy for the first time.

"This match is a big test of our collective character as a group, there's no doubt about that," Deans says.

"As they showed when we visited last year, and in the recent home matches that they've had against South Africa and the All Blacks, the Welsh are a formidable opponent. They've consistently been one of the best teams in Europe during the last two years, have an experienced playing roster, and had a wide representation on the British Lions tour earlier in the year."

Wales approaches the final game of its November series confident after piecing together successive victories over Samoa and Argentina following a first-up 12-19 defeat by New Zealand.

The 2008 Six Nations Grand Slam champions have been highly competitive at home against the Tri-Nations teams in the last two years, getting within seven of the All Blacks three weeks ago, and five of the Springboks during a 15-20 defeat last year, as well as their win over the Wallabies.

Just six of the players named in Qantas Wallabies starting line-up announced today were also in the run on side 12 months ago, when Wales beat Australia.

Those players are Ioane, Drew Mitchell, Peter Hynes, Matt Giteau, Stephen Moore and Benn Robinson. Mitchell (who played fullback) and Ioane (wing) are in different positions a year on.

This weekend's match at the Millennium Stadium will be refereed by Wayne Barnes of England.

Saturday night represents the Wallabies' 14th and final Test of the year, with the majority of the team returning to Australia on Sunday night.

Test Match - James Bevan Trophy
WALES V AUSTRALIA
Saturday 28 November 2009 (Kick-off 5:15pm GMT, 4:15am AEDT Sunday)
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff WAL

AUSTRALIA
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs, Brumbies)
14. Peter Hynes (University of Queensland, Queensland Reds)
13. Digby Ioane (Sunnybank, Queensland Reds)
12. Quade Cooper (Souths, Queensland Reds)
11. Drew Mitchell (Randwick, HSBC Waratahs)
10. Matt Giteau (Associates, Western Force)
9. Will Genia (North Brisbane, Queensland Reds)
8. Wycliff Palu (Manly, HSBC Waratahs)
7. David Pocock (University of WA (Western Force)
6. Rocky Elsom [c] (Randwick, Brumbies)
5. Dean Mumm (Sydney University, HSBC Waratahs)
4. James Horwill (University of Queensland, Queensland Reds)
3. Ben Alexander (Eastwood, Brumbies)
2. Stephen Moore (University of Queensland, Brumbies)
1. Benn Robinson (Eastwood, HSBC Waratahs)
Reserves
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Parramatta, HSBC Waratahs)
17. Matt Dunning (Eastwood, Western Force)
18. Mark Chisholm (Randwick, Brumbies)
19. George Smith (Manly, Brumbies)
20. Luke Burgess (Sydney University, HSBC Waratahs)
21. James O'Connor (Cottesloe, Western Force)
22. Kurtley Beale (Northern Suburbs, HSBC Waratahs)



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