Connolly makes five changes
November 22, 2006

Wallabies Coach John Connolly has made six changes to his team for the clash with Scotland at Murrayfield, with five new faces to feature in the forward pack.

The Wallabies are looking to extend a 24-year undefeated record over Scotland on Saturday, which is the final Test match of the year for the Australians.

Hooker Stephen Moore will make his first run on appearance for the Wallabies on Saturday in a young and inexperienced front row which also features 22-year-old prop Benn Robinson at loosehead prop and fellow first-year Test player Guy Shepherdson at tighthead.

In his nine appearances for the Wallabies, all of which were from the reserves bench, Moore has played just 80 minutes of Test rugby, while Robinson is on his first European Tour and has just 2 Test caps.

Connolly has continued his rotation at openside flanker, opting for George Smith to wear the number 7 against Scotland and moving Phil Waugh back to the reserves bench.

Brumbies lock Al Campbell has earned a maiden berth in the Wallaby starting fifteen, moving in alongside vice captain Nathan Sharpe at lock.

The match will also mark the return of 40-match veteran David Lyons to the Test team, having won the number 8 spot for the first time since the 2005 Tri-Nations series.

In the backline, Connolly has retained Matt Giteau at scrumhalf for the fourth consecutive Test, but will try yet another midfield combination with the introduction of Scott Staniforth at inside centre.

Staniforth, a former winger who won player of the year honours at the Western Force playing in the No.12 role this season, will make his first appearance in at inside centre for the Wallabies in his first run on Test since the 2002 Spring Tour.

Lote Tuqiri will return to the left wing and celebrate his 50th Test for the Wallabies after converting to rugby in 2002.

Connolly has used 27 players in three Tests on the Spring Tour and said that a victory at Murrayfield would cap off a successful month for the Wallabies.

"Success is measured in many ways and we've been able to determine a number of things on the tour as well as giving 27 players an opportunity to play Test rugby," said Connolly.

"Our goal before the tour started was to win all seven matches and we're disappointed that we haven't been able to achieve that, but at the same time we've seen a number of players progress strongly through the mid-week games and were in a better position now than what we were before the tour," he said.

"We played well against Wales, beat a very competitive Italy side and were beaten by an Irish team at the top of their game.

A win on Saturday would give us a pretty good result for the tour."

Connolly said that the forecasted cold and wet conditions for Saturday's Test would not be an excuse for an under-strength performance from his team.

"The conditions aren't an excuse. We played in difficult conditions against Ireland and simply didn't handle them as well as they did. It's not an excuse, but it's something we need handle a lot better," he said.

Connolly will wait for the results of a fitness test on reserve back-rower Wycliff Palu before confirming whether it is he or Australia A star Stephen Hoiles that occupies the final spot on a five-forward reserve bench.

Australia have announced the following side to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.


1. Benn Robinson

2. Stephen Moore

3. Guy Shepherdson

4. Nathan Sharpe (vc)

5. Al Campbell

6. Rocky Elsom

7. George Smith

8. David Lyons

9. Matt Giteau

10. Stephen Larkham

11. Lote Tuqiri

12. Scott Staniforth

13. Stirling Mortlock (c)

14. Mark Gerrard

15. Chris Latham (vc)

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau

17. Al Baxter

18. Mark Chisholm

19. Phil Waugh

20. Wycliff Palu/Stephen Hoiles

21. Josh Valentine

22. Mat Rogers

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