Deans rings changes for historic Test
October 30, 2008
Wallaby players in action during an Australian Wallabies training session at the Sookunpoo Sports Ground on October 30, 2008 in Hong Kong, China.
The Wallabies train in the shadow of Hong Kong skyscrapers © Getty Images

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has made five changes to the starting XV for Saturday's historic Bledisloe Cup Test in Hong Kong on Saturday.

Wing Drew Mitchell and No 8 Richard Brown replace the injured pair of Lote Tuqiri and Wycliff Palu, while flanker Dean Mumm and second row Mark Chisholm owe their promotions to injury to some extent, with Hugh McMeniman and James Horwill both also unavailable.

The final change to the starting line-up that lost to the All Blacks in Brisbane in September is halfback Luke Burgess, who returns after he missed the Brisbane Test due to injury. He replaces Sam Cordingley, who drops to a place among the run on reserves.

The bench features a potential new cap, in the 20-year-old Western Force flanker David Pocock. This year's Australian Under-20 captain is one of two loose forwards named among the substitutes - Waratahs skipper Phil Waugh is - alongside prop Matt Dunning and hooker Adam Freier.

Blindside flanker Mumm will provide lock cover. Inside centre Berrick Barnes returns to the side since being forced from the field during Australia's historic win over South Africa at Durban in August with a shoulder injury.

Tuqiri's unavailability has created room for his young Waratahs team-mate Lachie Turner, who made his debut earlier in the year during the 40-10 win over France at Brisbane.

The Wallabies arrived in Hong Kong on Monday evening and Deans is satisfied with the team's preparations for the historic match. "While we've had a big build up, in terms of having had four weeks together in training camps prior to coming away, the focus specific to this match really only started once we assembled at Manly last week before heading to Hong Kong," he said.

Australia lost by four against New Zealand in the Tri-Nations decider at Brisbane in September, but Deans welcomed the additional opportunity his side has to Test itself against the All Blacks.

"I said after our last meeting that we'd be happy to play the All Blacks in a car park to have another game with them, and I stand by that," he said. "Each game offers us the opportunity to test ourselves and raise our standards, providing a great barometer of the progress that we've made as a team. While we'd obviously have liked the Bledisloe Cup series to have still been alive, the chance to gain a Test win against New Zealand remains and that is an opportunity to be cherished."

The Wallabies team to play New Zealand: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies); Peter Hynes (Queensland Reds), Ryan Cross (Western Force) Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies, captain), Drew Mitchell (Western Force); Matt Giteau (Western Force), Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs); Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Moore (Queensland Reds), Al Baxter (NSW Waratahs), Mark Chisholm (Brumbies), Nathan Sharpe (Western Force), Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs), George Smith (Brumbies), Richard Brown (Western Force).

Replacements: Adam Freier (NSW Waratahs), Matt Dunning (NSW Waratahs), Phil Waugh (NSW Waratahs), David Pocock (Western Force), Sam Cordingley (Queensland Reds), Berrick Barnes (Queensland Reds), Lachie Turner (NSW Waratahs).

© Scrum

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