Australia v Ireland, Brisbane, June 26
Wallabies forced into two changes
June 22, 2010
Adam Ashley-Cooper returns to the Wallabies' starting line-up against Ireland in Brisbane © Getty Images
Robbie Deans has made two injury-enforced changes to his Australia side ahead of Saturday's one-off Test against Ireland in Brisbane.
Adam Ashley-Cooper replaces injured winger Digby Ioane (shoulder), while in-form half-back Luke Burgess returns at No. 9 in place of Will Genia (hand). Ioane requires surgery after dislocating his shoulder in the 63rd minute of last weekend's narrow loss to England, while Genia is facing a six-week layoff and will miss the start of the Tri Nations tournament after suffering a broken thumb in the same match.
Waratahs utility Kurtley Beale and Josh Valentine have been added to the bench after missing out on the match-day 22 for the Sydney Test. While the coach has shown faith in the remainder of his squad despite Saturday's disappointing 21-20 loss to the Old Enemy, he made it clear he expects a far more committed performance against the Irish.
"We let ourselves down," Deans said. "There were reasons why we came up short and it is critical that we rectify them. Certainly anyone who watched the two Tests against England would appreciate that the urgency that was shown by our players during the match in Perth wasn't replicated to the same level last weekend."
Deans also remains wary of the Irish side despite recent defeats to the All Blacks (66-28) and New Zealand Maori (31-28). "They had a man sent off early on against the All Blacks, which is not something any side can afford, and suffered accordingly," Deans said. "They did score four tries in that match, and got them all while playing with 14 men, which is a fair indicator of their willingness, in terms of having a go. It also says a lot about their capabilities."
Very little has separated the two sides in recent meetings, with the teams battling out a 20-all draw at Croke Park last November, while the Wallabies snuck home 18-12 in Melbourne two years ago in Deans' first Test at the helm.
"They are a seasoned unit, with proven performers in the key positions," he said. "Our recent matches will also have given them plenty of confidence that they can succeed, while their players will be hungry. This is their last match before a summer break, and a win on Saturday night will make this tour a success from their perspective."
"As we saw last weekend with England, that combination can be a powerful motivator so anything less than a significant improvement from where we left off in Sydney will not be good enough."
Australia: James O'Connor, Drew Mitchell, Rob Horne, Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Quade Cooper, Luke Burgess, Richard Brown, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom, Nathan Sharpe, Dean Mumm, Salesi Ma'afu, Saia Faingaa, Ben Daley.
Replacements: Huia Edmonds, James Slipper, Mark Chisholm, Matt Hodgson, Josh Valentine, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale.