Wallabies team to play England in the Cook Cup Test named

Getty Images     17 Nov 2012     Getty Images

The Test, which kicks off at 1.30am on Sunday morning AEDST, will be shown live on both Channel Ten and Fox Sports.

Fullback Berrick Barnes and winger Digby Ioane return to the backline, in the places of Mike Harris and Pat McCabe, while second rower Sitaleki Timani and tighthead prop Ben Alexander also resume, taking over from Kane Douglas and Sekope Kepu respectively.

After starting last weekend against France, Harris and Kepu have been named among Australia’s eight reserves.

Injury has once again played a hand in the selection, with McCabe (neck), Douglas (knee) and flanker David Pocock (calf strain) all ruled out of the equation due to fitness concerns.

Pocock, who captained the Qantas Wallabies through the June Tests and in the opening game of the inaugural Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship, had his expected return from a knee injury delayed by a tight calf.

Douglas suffered damage to a knee ligament during last week’s Test against France, while McCabe was ruled out by neck soreness, having experienced stiffness through the recovery period since the Test in Paris.

Of the returnees, Ioane, Timani and Alexander are all good to go again following injury-enforced layoffs; while Barnes made his return from a two-game injury spell by playing the final 26 minutes off the bench at the Stade de France.

Ioane hasn’t figured since scoring in Australia’s 25-19 win over Argentina at Rosario which locked up a second-placed finish for the Qantas Wallabies in the inaugural Investec Rugby Championship.

The powerful winger has been sidelined from the two matches since by a knee injury, resuming full contact training last week in Paris.

Alexander also hasn’t featured since the game in South America due to a wrist problem, while Timani was forced off after 21 minutes of Australia’s 18-18 draw with New Zealand at Brisbane last month due to tightness in his lower back.

The Wallabies arrived in London to continue the Spring Tour last Sunday after a disappointing first up loss to France where the visitors simply made too many mistakes against an inspired home side.

Coach Robbie Deans says that, while no one within the playing group was shying away from the disappointment of that defeat, and Australia’s short comings on the night; the Wallabies were not getting bogged down by the baggage of that performance either.

“The key focus has been to take the meaning from it, and put that learning into practice for this week, both through our preparation and then onto the game itself,” Deans says.

“There aren’t too many challenges in Test rugby that are greater than playing England at Twickenham. We are playing an England side that has been building up under its new leadership, and will see Saturday as the chance to lay down a marker for the future. They will be excited by the opportunities they saw out of our performance last weekend.

The Wallabies team to play England in the Cook Cup Test at Twickenham Stadium in London on Saturday (kick-off: 2.30pm UK time, 1.30am AEDST) is:

15. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs)
14. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
12. Ben Tapuai (Queensland Reds)
11. Nick Cummins (Western Force)
10. Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels)
9. Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels)
8. Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
7. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs)
6. Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force, captain)
4. Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs)
3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
2. Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs)
1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)

Run on Reserves:

16. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
17. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
18. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
19. Radike Samo (Queensland Reds)
20. Liam Gill (Queensland Reds)
21. Brett Sheehan (Western Force)
22. Mike Harris (Queensland Reds)
23. Drew Mitchell (NSW Waratahs)