Sharpe to skipper Wallabies
June 8, 2005

Qantas Wallabies lock Nathan Sharpe will captain Australia for the second time this Saturday against Samoa at Telstra Stadium in Sydney.

Sharpe and vice captains Chris Whitaker and Bill Young will lead an team which includes two starting debutantes and three reserves who are yet to be capped at Test level.

Flanker Stephen Hoiles who was in strong contention to be named in the starting lineup was ruled unavailable for selection due to injury, after failing to complete the contact session in Coffs Harbour.Hoiles injured his right knee in a tackle at the start of the session and will have an MRI scan in Sydney tomorrow to assess the damage.

Six players, lock Mark Chisholm, Number 6 Rocky Elsom, and reserves Matt Henjak, Stephen Moore, Hugh McMeniman, and Nic Henderson have less than six Test caps between them, while more than half the team are under the age of 25.

Wallaby Coach Eddie Jones says Sharpe, Whitaker and Young will provide good guidance to a young and enthusiastic team who have prepared well this week. "Nathan had the opportunity to captain Australia during the Tri Nations last year and will only benefit further from the experience again this Saturday," said Jones.

"With Bill Young and Chris Whitaker as his two vice captains, the trio will work well with the team that includes 12 players under the age of 25 and 14 who were part of the Rugby World Cup squad in 2003."

With ten players unavailable for selection, a total of 316 Test caps, Jones says it's a good chance for some of the younger blokes to experience Test rugby. "It's no secret that we have a number of players unavailable for selection and while it's disappointing, it does present some unique opportunities for a number of players," said Jones.

"We've prepared for this Test with a large squad and we've needed it."

"Mark Chisholm and Rocky Elsom will both start for the first time and are in a position where they can push for a regular starting spot over the next few Tests. The debutantes in the reserves, Moore and McMeniman are also looking to capitalise, and the enthusiasm and energy that all five players have bought into the squad has been great."

"Add to that, players like Nic Henderson and Matt Henjak, and it would have to be one of the youngest team's the Wallabies have selected for some time."

While Chisholm and Hoiles are the new faces in the forwards, Matt Giteau will wear the Australian Number 10 jersey for the first time since playing Namibia in the Rugby World Cup, with Morgan Turinui and Stirling Mortlock teaming up in the centres.

Wingers Clyde Rathbone and Wendell Sailor will join fullback Chris Latham in the outside backs while both Stephen Larkham and Mat Rogers will start on the reserves bench.

1. Bill Young (vc)
2. Jeremy Paul
3. Matt Dunning
4. Mark Chisholm
5. Nathan Sharpe (c)
6. Rocky Elsom
7. George Smith
8. David Lyons
9. Chris Whitaker (vc)
10. Matt Giteau
11. Clyde Rathbone
12. Morgan Turinui
13. Stirling Mortlock
14. Wendell Sailor
15. Chris Latham

16. Stephen Moore
17. Nic Henderson
18. Hugh McMeniman
19. John Roe
20. Matt Henjak
21. Stephen Larkham
22. Mat Rogers

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