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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 10:42 GMT
Wallabies switch roles for Wales
Stephen Larkham and Matt Rogers try out their new positions in training
Larkham and Rogers try out their new positions in training
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 4 November
Kick-off: 1430 GMT
*Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales & Radio Cymru, and this website

Wales face an experimental Australia back division in Saturday's Test at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Wallabies coach John Connolly has named Stephen Larkham, who has played all his international rugby either at fly-half or full-back, at inside centre.

Larkham will partner Lote Tuqiri - who usually plays as a winger - in a new-look Australian midfield.

Mat Rogers is at fly-half with Matt Giteau, more comfortable as a three-quarter, his fellow half-back.

Giteau gets his chance in the number nine shirt as George Gregan has been rested for the tour and Sam Cordingley is injured.

Cameron Shepherd secures the available wing berth with one of the few impressive displays in the Australia midweek side's 24-16 defeat to the Ospreys in Swansea on Wednesday night.

We need to see if Matt Giteau can play scrum-half

Australia coach John Connolly

Up front, open-side flanker Phil Waugh, who captains the side, and lock Nathan Sharpe are the only survivors from the Australia pack demolished in Wales' 24-22 victory 12 months ago.

The front row is made up of 21-stone Queenslander Rodney Blake, hooker Tai McIsaac and Al Baxter, who has switched to the loose-head side.

Waugh, capped 52 times by the Wallabies, takes over the captain's armband in the absence of the injured Stirling Mortlock, who is expected to return for next week's Test against Italy in Rome.

"Phil has been a tremendous player for Australia rugby," Connolly said.

"He's one of those players who wears their heart on their sleeve and he thoroughly deserves his chance to captain his country."

There is no place in the 22-man squad for back-row George Smith, who captained Australia against the Ospreys.

"We need to see if Matt (Giteau) can play scrum-half, can Stephen (Larkham) play at 12 and a number of issues among the forwards," Connolly added.

"That's why George (Smith) is not in the 22-man squad. However, the goal is always to win and we will be aiming to do that on Saturday."

  • Flanker Hugh McMenimen has been cleared of serious damage from a neck injury he sustained in the 10th minute of the loss to the Ospreys.

    The 23-year-old, who had spent most of 2006 on the sidelines due to a shoulder reconstruction, spent the night in hospital after landing heavily at a line-out.

    A decision has yet to be taken on his future involvement in the tour.

    Australia team v Wales (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff):
    C Latham (Queensland Reds); C Rathbone (ACT Brumbies), L Tuqiri (NSW Waratahs), S Larkham (ACT Brumbies), C Shepherd (Western Force); M Rogers (NSW Waratahs), M Giteau (Western Force); A Baxter (NSW Waratahs), T McIsaac (Western Force), R Blake (Queensland Reds), N Sharpe (Western Force), D Vickerman (NSW Waratahs), R Elsom (NSW Waratahs), P Waugh (NSW Waratahs, captain), W Palu (NSW Waratahs).
    Replacements: B Cannon (Western Force), B Robinson (NSW Waratahs), M Chisholm (ACT Brumbies), S Hoiles (ACT Brumbies), J Valentine (Queensland Reds), M Gerrard (ACT Brumbies), A Ashley-Cooper (ACT Brumbies).

    Ospreys 24-16 Australia
    01 Nov 06 |  Ospreys


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