Australia A welcome Wallabies for Tonga clash
Scrum.com
June 18, 2008

Australia A has named a 22-man team, including seven of the current Wallabies squad, to play Tonga at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.

In a boost to the squad, which recorded victories in Japan and Samoa in the first two rounds of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup, Wallabies Coach Robbie Deans has released seven players, who were not part of the match day squad against the Irish in Melbourne, for Australia A duties.

Wallabies forwards Mark Chisholm, Ben Alexander, Richard Brown and Stephen Hoiles and backs Digby Ioane, Brett Sheehan and Lachie Turner have all been included in Australia A's first home match of the campaign.

Joining Alexander in the front row is Waratahs prop Sekope Kepu and Queensland Reds hooker Sean Hardman.

Mark Chisholm and Peter Kimlin will form the second row, while Richard Brown, Stephen Hoiles and Wallabies World Cup lock Hugh McMeniman, enjoying his first hit-out since Round 2 of Super 14, make up and impressive back row.

Australia A coach Phil Mooney has opted for an all-Waratahs halves combination with Brett Sheehan at scrumhalf and Sam Norton-Knight at flyhalf.

Captain Morgan Turinui and Timana Tahu resume their combination in the centres, while Digby Ioane and Matt Carraro will patrol the wings.

Lachie Turner will get his chance to press for a Test spot against the French when he lines up at fullback.

The match against the Tongans will also see the return from injury of Wallabies World Cup winger Drew Mitchell, who will start from the bench.

Australia A coach Phil Mooney said the match will provide the Wallabies squad players with valuable match-practice and give them the opportunity to push for selection for the two-Test series against France.

"Robbie Deans wants his players to have regular game-time and has released these squad players so they can maintain their match fitness and press for Test selection against France with a strong performance this weekend," said Mooney.

"Having these players in the Australia A squad has increased the competition for starting places and I'm looking forward to a professional performance against the Tongans on Sunday."

Mooney also urged Sydneysiders to come down to North Sydney and enjoy some good quality international rugby.

"With so many Wallabies on show as well as some very promising young prospects, we're hoping to see a good crowd at North Sydney on Sunday afternoon."

Australia A team to play Tonga
IRB Pacific Nations Cup - Round 3
North Sydney Oval
Kick off: 2:00pm

Team:
Ben Alexander
Sean Hardman
Sekope Kepu
Mark Chisholm
Peter Kimlin
Hugh McMeniman
Richard Brown
Stephen Hoiles
Brett Sheehan
Sam Norton-Knight
Digby Ioane
Timana Tahu
Morgan Turinui
Matt Carraro
Lachlan Turner

Reserves:
John Ulugia
Guy Shepherdson
Al Campbell
Julian Salvi
Patrick Phibbs
Daniel Halangahu
Drew Mitchell

The Wallabies who have been released to play for Australia A against Tonga on Sunday June 22 at North Sydney Oval are: Brett Sheehan, Mark Chisholm, Digby Ioane, Ben Alexander, Richard Brown, Stephen Hoiles, Lachlan Turner.

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