On Saturday the Wallabies and All Blacks will clash in Sydney competing for the famous Bledisloe cup. Both teams have recently lost in their Tri Nations games against South Africa, with the All Blacks losing twice in Pretoria and Durban and the Wallabies losing in Cape Town. Both teams will be looking for a win to resurect their Tri Nations campaigns.
For the Wallabies George Smith will captain a line-up containing three changes, including the return of back rower Rocky Elsom, for Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations clash against New Zealand. It will be Elsom’s first game back since his Sabbactical for Leinster, in which he helped them win their first Heineken Cup beating the Leicester Tigers at Murrayfield.
With Elsom on the blindside flank, Richard Brown (who wears Nike Air Legend 2 Rugby boots) switched from the side to the back of the scrum and number eight Wycliff Palu was dropped to the bench. Openside Flanker Smith was elevated to the captaincy after Stirling Mortlock was sidelined due to an injury he sustained in the 29-17 loss to the Springboks last time out.
Mortlock’s absence also forced a positional and a personnel change, with teenager James O’Connor coming into the starting XV at full-back to cover for Adam Ashley-Cooper, who switched to outside center in place of the injured Australia captain.
For New Zealand they welcome back their star man Dan Carter from a 6 month lay off through an achilles injury picked up from playing Club Rugby for Perpignan against Stade Francais in January.
Stephen Donald who started in Durban now finds himself on the bench. Other changes for the All Blacks include Luke McAlister, in his preferred position of inside centre, gets his second start this year, replacing Ma’a Nonu in the midfield. Mcalister has played at fly half also this year but is known to prefer the 12 shirt with his powerfull running and great passing ability could help give the Dangerous but out of Form All Black wingers the chances they need.
The other change is Canterbury number 8 Kieron Reid (who wears Adidas 915 Rugby boots) taking over behind the base of the scrum from Rodney So’oialo who pays the price for some in different form in the last few weeks, although looked good playing for Wellington Lions in their NPC game on the weekend.
Australia: 15 James O’Connor, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Richard Brown, 7 George Smith (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 James Horwill, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 David Pocock, 20 Will Genia, 21 Ryan Cross, 22 Peter Hynes.
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Josevata Rokocoko, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Isaac Ross, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 John Afoa, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Rodney So’oialo, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Ma’a Nonu.
Date: Saturday, August 22
Venue: ANZ Stadium, SydneyKick-off: 20.00 (10.00 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa) Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)