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Qantas Wallabies named to play England in Cook Cup Test

  
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15/11/2012
By Qantas Wallabies Media Unit


The four changes have been split two-apiece, between the forwards and amongst the backs, in the Qantas Wallabies starting line-up announced today for this weekend’s Cook Cup Test match against England in London.

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 Castrol EDGE 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.
 
“But it goes both ways. Saturday is a significant opportunity for us as a group as well. It’s going to be a great occasion, and one that the whole group is looking forward to.”
 
The significance of gracing the home of English Rugby hasn’t been lost on the tourists: just five of Saturday’s starting XV featured the last time Australia played England at Twickenham two years ago, when the hosts recorded a 35-18 success which reclaimed the Cook Cup.
 
These players are Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nathan Sharpe, Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson.
 
Two more: fullback Barnes and hooker Stephen Moore featured from the bench.
 
England’s win in 2010 snapped a sequence of two consecutive defeats after Australia had recorded wins on their 2008 and 2009 visits to the ground.
 
The Wallabies also visited the famous stadium during last year’s brief Spring Tour, but that was for a non-cap match which saw the tourists overpower the Barbarians 60-11.
 
Ben Tapuai, who plays his first Test at inside centre, made his Wallaby debut in that match.
 
The Qantas 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)
 
Australia v England @ London – Historical Notes
  • This will be the 41st Test match between Australia and England. Australia has won 23 and England 16 while the 1997 contest in London resulted in a 15-15 draw.
  • England holds a narrow 11 wins to nine lead with one drawn, from the 21 matches played on English soil. This includes victories in five of the last eight matches played.
  • Australia’s 28-14 (2008) and 18-9 (2009) victories at Twickenham on recent Spring Tours represented the first instance in which the Qantas Wallabies had achieved back-to-back away victories over England in successive years.
  • The two teams compete for the Cook Cup, which was established in 1997. The cup is named after Captain James Cook and is currently held by England after its 35-18 win in London during the 2010 Spring Tour. 
  • The first Test between Australia and England was played at Blackheath in 1909, with Australia running out the winners 9-3.
  • Although the links between the countries are undoubtedly close, the intensity of the rivalry between the two is a relatively modern phenomenon. This is evidenced by the fact that only six Tests had been played prior to the 1970s. Australia and England have twice met in Rugby World Cup finals, sharing the spoils one apiece, each having prevailed on the other’s home turf.
  • The 35 points posted by England during the most recent Cook Cup test at Twickenham represented the highest score tallied by the red rose through the 40 Tests played against Australia.
  • The first of the two tries Kurtley Beale scored in that match represented the 100th try scored by an Australian player in Tests against England. 
  • Nathan Sharpe plays his 12th Test against England. This moves him ahead of Chris Latham and ties George Smith in second, behind George Gregan (16 matches), in terms of the number of appearances made by an Australian against England.
  • Wycliff Palu plays his 44th Test for Australia as a No 8. This advances one ahead of the career tally achieved by the current NSW Rugby president Tim Gavin, ranking Palu as the second most capped player for the Wallabies in the position, trailing only the 57 appearances at No 8 compiled by Toutai Kefu.
  • Berrick Barnes, who returns to the fullback role after not having started a match since the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship Test against South Africa at Pretoria in late September, starts on Saturday 13 points short of recording 100 Test points for the year. Barnes has already more than doubled his Test career tally in the eight matches in which he has featured, having started 2012 with 83 Test points to his name.