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Brumbies lock/backrower Scott Fardy will make his run-on debut for the Qantas Wallabies in the sole change made to the starting line-up for Saturday’s second Bledisloe Cup and Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium.
Coach Ewen McKenzie has backed his new-look squad to respond to their opening Bledisloe Cup loss against the All Blacks by giving them a chance to atone while continuing to develop as a group.
The inclusion of the combative Fardy is the only change made to the starting XV with the opportunity presenting itself following the injury withdrawal of Western Force backrower Hugh McMeniman, who will undergo a complete shoulder reconstruction in Brisbane next week.
Fardy’s first run-on appearance comes a week after his Test debut, capping off a remarkable journey where only two seasons ago the 29-year-old was uncapped at Super Rugby level and playing for Japanese club Kamaishi Seawaves.
His elevation to the number six jersey opens to door for lock Kane Douglas to come onto the bench in the only other change made the Qantas Wallabies matchday squad.
By making two changes McKenzie has backed the core playing squad to do better and improve from the experience after last week fielding five debutants and an additional five players with 10 caps or less.
“You can’t fudge experience and I know this group learned a great deal from last week and will be much better for the experience on Saturday night,” McKenzie said.
“We made a decision to reward players that were in-form and who we believed were capable of executing what we are trying to achieve as a group. That doesn’t change overnight or following one losing result.
“It’s always important to be conscious of finding a balance between selecting experience against youth but the only way to develop that experience is by providing opportunities to players and hoping they take them.
“Right now, I’m more concerned with how each individual responds to the defeat. We need to fix aspects of our performance but we will get better the more time we spend together.
“However, in saying that, you only get a finite number of chances at Test level so it’s important that you don’t let the moment pass. That’s been made very clear this week as has the expectation of the level of improvement we need from each player within the squad.”
Victory on Saturday is a must for the Qantas Wallabies if they are to keep their Bledisloe Cup hopes alive in 2013 with the third Test against New Zealand to be played in Dunedin on October 19.
It also presents an opportunity for Australia to break a 12-year losing drought against the All Blacks on their home soil with the Qantas Wallabies unsuccessful in their past 14 matches in New Zealand.
The last time an Australian side beat the All Blacks in New Zealand was at Dunedin in 2001.
Following Saturday night’s match the Qantas Wallabies will return home to take on South Africa in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 7 September.
Tickets for that match are now available through Ticketek.
The Qantas Wallabies side to play New Zealand in the second Bledisloe Cup and Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship match at Westpac Stadium on Saturday 24 August is:
1. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
2. Stephen Moore (ACT Brumbies)
3. Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies)
4. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds)
5. James Horwill (c – Queensland Reds)
6. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies)
7. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs)
8. Ben Mowen (ACT Brumbies)
9. Will Genia (vc – Queensland Reds)
10. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)
11. James O’Connor (Melbourne Rebels)
12. Christian Leali’ifano (ACT Brumbies)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
14. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
15. Jesse Mogg (ACT Brumbies)
16. Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)
17. Scott Sio (ACT Brumbies)
18. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
19. Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs)
20. Liam Gill (Queensland Reds)
21. Nic White (ACT Brumbies)
22. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
23. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies)