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By Qantas Wallabies Media Unit
Prop Ben Alexander has withdrawn from the Qantas Wallabies side for Saturday night’s Castrol EDGE Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand.
Alexander has been troubled by wrist complaint and will replaced in the starting XV by Queensland Reds prop James Slipper, with the versatile Sekope Kepu coming into the squad on the bench.
Kepu, who is returning from a knee injury, last appeared for the Wallabies during the opening Bledisloe Cup Test of the year in Sydney.
The withdrawal of Alexander is the second change to the original match night squad announced by the Qantas Wallabies after hooker Saia Fainga’a was forced to withdraw following a mishap at training on Tuesday where scans later confirmed a broken bone in his hand.
Fainga’a has been replaced on the bench by his Queensland Reds’ team-mate James Hanson, who joined the team as a reinforcement during the recent tour of South Africa and Argentina, replacing the injured Stephen Moore.
Should Hanson be required to take the field, he will become the 865th player to appear for the Wallabies in a game given Test status by the Australian Rugby Union.
He would also be the 12th new cap to have featured for the Wallabies in 11 Tests this year.
The revised Qantas Wallabies team to play New Zealand in The Castrol EDGE Bledisloe Cup Test on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane (kick-off: 8pm AEST, 9pm AEDST) is:
15. Mike Harris (Queensland Reds)
14. Nick Cummins (Western Force)
13. Ben Tapuai (Queensland Reds)
12. Pat McCabe (Brumbies)
11. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
10. Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels)
9. Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels)
8. Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
7. Michael Hooper (Brumbies)
6. Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force, captain)
4. Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs)
3. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
2. Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs)
1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
Run on Reserves:
16. Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)
17. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
18. Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs)
19. Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs)
20. Liam Gill (Queensland Reds)
21. Brett Sheehan (Western Force)
22. Drew Mitchell (NSW Waratahs)