Wallabies turn to Fardy
Thu, 22 Aug 2013 06:44
We made a decision to reward players that were in-form
Wallaby back row forward Scott Fardy will make his run-on debut for Australia in the sole change made to the starting line-up for Saturday's second Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand.
The encounter in Wellington also doubles up as a must-win for the Wallabies in the Wallabies if they are to have any hope of wrestling the Bledisloe Cup from the All Blacks.
Coach Ewen McKenzie has backed his new-look squad to respond to their opening loss against the All Blacks by giving them a chance to atone while continuing to develop as a group.
The inclusion of the combative Fardy is the only change made to the starting XV, with the opportunity presenting itself following the injury withdrawal of Western Force back row forward Hugh McMeniman - who will undergo a complete shoulder reconstruction in Brisbane next week.
Fardy's first run-on appearance comes a week after his Test debut, capping off a remarkable journey where only two seasons ago the 29-year-old was uncapped at Super Rugby level and playing for Japanese club Kamaishi Seawaves.
His elevation to the No.6 jersey opens to door for lock Kane Douglas to come onto the bench in the only other change made the Wallabies matchday squad.
By making two changes McKenzie has backed the core playing squad to do better and improve from the experience after last week fielding five debutants and an additional five players with 10 caps or less.
"You can't fudge experience and I know this group learned a great deal from last week and will be much better for the experience last Saturday," McKenzie said.
"We made a decision to reward players that were in-form and who we believed were capable of executing what we are trying to achieve as a group. That doesn't change overnight or following one losing result.
"It's always important to be conscious of finding a balance between selecting experience against youth but the only way to develop that experience is by providing opportunities to players and hoping they take them.
"Right now, I'm more concerned with how each individual responds to the defeat. We need to fix aspects of our performance but we will get better the more time we spend together.
"However, in saying that, you only get a finite number of chances at Test level so it's important that you don't let the moment pass. That's been made very clear this week as has the expectation of the level of improvement we need from each player within the squad."
Victory on Saturday is a must for the Wallabies if they are to keep their Bledisloe Cup hopes alive in 2013 with the third Test against New Zealand to be played in Dunedin on October 19.
It also presents an opportunity for Australia to break a 12-year losing drought against the All Blacks on their home soil with the Wallabies unsuccessful in their past 14 matches in New Zealand.
The last time an Australian side beat the All Blacks in New Zealand was at Dunedin in 2001.
Following Saturday's match the Wallabies will return home to take on South Africa in Brisbane on Saturday 7 September.
Australia: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 James O'Connor, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.
Date: Saturday, August 24
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 AEST, 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
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