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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 05:59 GMT 06:59 UK
Aussies drop Smith for vital game
George Smith
Smith was one of Australia's star performers in the Super 14
Australia have dropped flanker George Smith for Saturday's must-win Tri Nations clash against New Zealand.

Smith has been replaced by Phil Waugh in one of three changes made by coach John Connolly in the wake of the lacklustre win over South Africa.

Wing Clyde Rathbone and hooker Jeremy Paul also earn recalls.

New Zealand have also made three changes for the game in Auckland, with wing Doug Howlett, lock Jason Eaton and centre Isaia Toeva all starting.

Leon McDonald, Rico Gear and Ali Williams are the players that make way, with Mils Muliaina switching from centre to full-back.

"This move bolsters our options at 15, keeps Leon MacDonald fresh, and makes room for Isaia in the starting line-up," said coach Graham Henry.

Victory over the Wallabies would seal the Tri-Nations title for New Zealand before they head to South Africa.

Australia, who needed a late try from Mat Rogers to beat South Africa on 5 August, narrowly lost 13-9 to the All Blacks last month.

The Wallabies have already lost the Bledisloe Cup after two straight defeats.

"There were some very tough selection decisions, particularly in the back row, but we feel that Phil Waugh deserves his opportunity in the starting team," said Connolly.

"George Smith has been very good for us throughout the season and is one of the world's best in his position, but we are very keen to see what Phil can bring to the mix.

"The wing was also very contentious and there has been nothing between the outside backs throughout the season."


New Zealand: Muliaina; Howlett, Toeava, Mauger, Rokocoko; Carter, Kelleher; Woodcock, Mealamu, Hayman; Jack, Eaton; Collins, McCaw (capt), Sooialo.
Replacements: Hore, Somerville, Williams, Masoe, Weepu, McAlister, L MacDonald.

Australia: Latham; Rathbone, Mortlock, Giteau, Tuqiri; Larkham, Gregan (capt); Holmes, Paul, Blake; Sharpe, Vickerman; Elsom, Waugh, Palu.
Replacements: McIsaac, Baxter, Chisholm, Smith, Sheehan, Gerrard, Rogers.



Tri-Nations Series Table
Saturday, 11 September 2010 13:05 UK
  Team P PD PTS
1 New Zealand 6 73 27
2 Australia 6 -26 11
3 South Africa 6 -47 7

SEE ALSO
Brooke helps All Blacks line-out
08 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Connolly content with 'ugly' win
05 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Australia 20-18 South Africa
05 Aug 06 |  Internationals
NZ boss Henry denies quit reports
03 Aug 06 |  Internationals
Henry keen to master South Africa
30 Jul 06 |  Internationals
Australia 9-13 New Zealand
29 Jul 06 |  Internationals
New Zealand 35-17 South Africa
22 Jul 06 |  Internationals
Australia 49-0 South Africa
15 Jul 06 |  Internationals
New Zealand 32-12 Australia
08 Jul 06 |  Internationals


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