British & Irish Lions 2013

Beale, Tomane called in for crunch

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 06:49
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Alexander to earn his 50th Test cap
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The Wallabies made two enforced changes - with Kurtley Beale and Joe Tomane coming into a recast backline for the must-win second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne on Saturday.

Beale, who missed a winning penalty attempt in the final minutes of the Wallabies' 21-23 first Test loss in Brisbane last week, replaces the injured Berrick Barnes at fullback, while Tomane takes over from wing Digby Ioane.

Coach Robbie Deans retained James O'Connor at flyhalf, despite his mixed reviews in last week's Test and following pictures published in a British newspaper showing him out partying with Beale at 04.00 am on Wednesday - after watching his Super Rugby team, the Melbourne Rebels, fall 0-35 to the Lions.

Both players denied they were drinking and a Wallaby spokesman told reporters neither broke team rules.

Australia must win the Melbourne Test to keep the series alive for the final game in Sydney on Saturday week.

Christian Lealiifano was cleared to play at inside centre after his Test debut in Brisbane was cruelly cut short in the opening minute, after making a tackle on opposing Lions centre Jonathan Davies.

Lealiifano received the green light after undergoing extensive post-concussion tests and will resume the goal-kicking role, which fell to O'Connor and Beale with little success in his absence.

Centre Pat McCabe is out for the rest of the year after sustaining a neck injury during last weekend's Test loss, while Ioane damaged his right shoulder and is also out for the series.

Adam Ashley-Cooper gave the Wallabies' hopes a boost when he was named at outside centre after finishing the first Test with shoulder trouble.

In other changes, midfielder Rob Horne and uncapped fullback Jesse Mogg were both added to the reserves bench.

The inclusion of Tomane represents a second Test cap for the ACT Brumbies wing, more than 12 months after he made his debut for Australia against Scotland last year.

The Australian forward pack is unchanged from the opening Test, with front row forward Ben Alexander set to earn his 50th Test cap.

Alexander joins Al Baxter (69), current front row partner Benn Robinson (57) and Ewen McKenzie (51) as the only players to have achieved 50 Tests for Australia.

It will be the first time the Wallabies will go into a Test match with all three starting front row forwards having played in excess of 50 Test matches.

There was no place among the replacements for 110-Test flank and sole Wallabies' 2001 series survivor George Smith, who was called up to the squad this week.

The Wallabies will be aiming to repeat their victory in the second Test of the last 2001 Lions tour after they had lost the opening Test in Brisbane and went on to win the series.

As with last week's Test debutant Israel Folau, Tomane has strong Melbourne connections.

The former Australian Schools Rugby Union representative dabbled in Rugby League, being part of a playing roster which also included Folau, at the Melbourne Storm during the first of his two seasons at the club in 2008.

Tomane, who was born in New Zealand, but raised in Australia, returned to Rugby Union last year after four seasons in the 13-man code.

Folau last week became just the 19th Wallaby to score two or more tries on Test debut and will be gunning for more as he returns to Etihad Stadium for the first time since 2009 - when he played Rugby League for the Brisbane Broncos against his former club, the Melbourne Storm.

Only one player, Waratahs wing Owen Crossman, has scored two tries on debut for Australia, and followed it up with a try second time up.

Crossman, who scored his 'debut double' against the New Zealand Maori in 1923, went on to post a try in each of the second and third matches of that series.

The match is the 550th played by the Wallabies.

This includes a number played between 1920 and 1928 where New South Wales represented Australia due to Rugby Union being suspended in Queensland following the end of the first World War.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill, 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 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg.

Date: Saturday, June 29
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-off: 20.05 AEST (11.05 UK & Ireland time; 10.05 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Romain Poite (France)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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