Australia A name strong side to face Fiji
June 25, 2008
Australia A has named their team, including 12 capped Wallabies, to play Fiji in Round 4 of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup at Ballymore on Sunday.
With Wallabies coach Robbie Deans again releasing squad members not selected for the Test against France in Sydney this weekend, Australia A coach Phil Mooney will have another strong team at his disposal against the Fijians.
After routing Tonga 90-7 in the previous round Mooney has named an unchanged forward pack, with Hugh McMeniman and Sean Hardman given the chance to shine in front of a home crowd at Queensland's home of rugby.
Fellow Queensland Red Ben Lucas returns at scrumhalf, after a knee injury ruled him out of the past two matches, and Daniel Halangahu has been given an opportunity to impress at flyhalf.
After his man of the match performance against Tonga, Timana Tahu remains at inside centre, with captain Morgan Turinui on his outside.
Phil Mooney will have speed to burn in his back three with Lachie Turner and Digby Ioane on the wings and Drew Mitchell named at fullback.
On the bench Mooney has a wealth of experience with Mark Gerrard returning from a shoulder injury, while Brett Sheehan and Sam Norton-Knight will be expected to make an impact from the bench.
Van Humphries returns to the squad after missing the match against Tonga and is joined by Brumbies trio Julian Salvi, John Ulugia and Guy Shepherdson.
Mooney said that while the Australians performed well against Tonga, Fiji will provide a much sterner challenge this weekend.
"We were very good in attack last week, but I'm expecting Fiji to be a lot tighter defensively and make us really earn our points this week," said Mooney.
"We've had another week to work together as a group, which is a bonus, and this match is a great opportunity for all the players to stand up and get noticed by Wallabies selectors.
"There's no doubt Fiji will be up for this match and we're hoping to see a good Brisbane crowd come down to Ballymore on Sunday and enjoy a good international contest."
* denotes capped Wallaby
The Wallabies who have been released to play for Australia A against Fiji on Sunday June 29 at Ballymore are: Brett Sheehan, Mark Chisholm, Digby Ioane, Ben Alexander, Richard Brown, Stephen Hoiles, Lachlan Turner.