James O'Connor to start at fly-half for Australia against Wales
Thursday 01 December 2011
James O'Connor will make his first Test match start at fly-half when Australia face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
The goalkicking wing impressed as the Wallabies' number 10 against the Barbarians at Twickenham last weekend, and coach Robbie Deans has retained him in that pivotal role.
O'Connor, though, has big boots to fill as he takes over from Australia's World Cup fly-half Quade Cooper, who is currently injured.
Elsewhere, centre Berrick Barnes has recovered from a blow to his back to start alongside Rob Horne in midfield, while lock Rob Simmons replaces Nathan Sharpe.
Simmons for Sharpe is the only change up-front from when the countries last met 41 days ago in the World Cup bronze medal match at Eden Park, when Australia triumphed 21-18.
Wales will be keen to avenge that defeat, which is a fact not lost on Deans.
"(Wales coach) Warren (Gatland) will be looking for his group to push on from the World Cup," Deans said.
"And this match provides him with a perfect opportunity to do just that as a springboard heading into the next Six Nations."
Australia team to play Wales in Cardiff on Saturday:
A Ashley-Cooper; L Turner, R Horne, B Barnes, D Ioane; J O'Connor, W Genia; J Slipper, T Polota-Nau, S Ma'afu, J Horwill (capt), R Simmons, S Higginbotham, D Pocock, B McCalman.
Replacements: S Moore, B Alexander, N Sharpe, R Samo, B Lucas, B Tapuai, A Fainga'a.
Chelsea in Thailand: Eden Hazard offered 'free hug' as Jose Mourinho meets a familiar face
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget that fateful day in Belgium
Paul Scholes column: With Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Fifa bomb threat: Swiss authorities confirm a bomb threat has been made at the Fifa Congress
Michel Platini to consider pulling England and other Uefa members out of the World Cup if Sepp Blatter wins Fifa election
- 1 'Cheeky' Nando's under fire for apparently coming onto a customer on Twitter
- 3 Playboy model April Summers speaks out about being a victim of revenge porn
- 4 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 5 iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'