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Thread: Cross & Mortlock Reunite for Cook Cup Test

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    Cross & Mortlock Reunite for Cook Cup Test

    Drew Mitchell and Ryan Cross return to the backline, with Mitchell to start at left wing and Cross named in the number 13 jersey alongside captain Stirling Mortlock in the midfield.

    Richard Brown has retained his place in the starting lineup at Number 8, after being the only Emirates Western Force player to start against the Azzurri last Saturday.

    Nathan Sharpe returns to partner Mark Chisholm at lock, while rookie tourists James O’Connor and David Pocock have missed out on selection.

    The Wallabies have managed just one win from their past four visits to Twickenham and will be out to avenge their defeat to England at the quarter finals stage of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.


    Ryan Cross and tour skipper Stirling Mortlock have been reunited in the midfield as part of the Qantas Wallabies side announced today for Saturday afternoon’s Cook Cup rugby union Test against England in London.

    Cross represents one of eight personnel changes to the Australian starting line-up for Twickenham from that which edged out Italy 30-20 last weekend.

    Wingers Drew Mitchell and Peter Hynes return to a backline which has Matt Giteau back at flyhalf, after he came from the bench to replace the injured Berrick Barnes at Padova.

    Mortlock has moved in one position to inside centre, in order to accommodate Cross, after he started in the number 13 jersey against Italy.

    In the forwards, flanker George Smith, lock Nathan Sharpe and props Al Baxter and Benn Robinson have all been recalled to the run on XV.

    They replace Phil Waugh, Dean Mumm, Matt Dunning and Ben Alexander respectively.

    Queensland Reds utility forward Hugh McMeniman, who got through the full match last Saturday after returning from an ankle ligament injury, has been switched to the blindside flank after he featured in the second row against the Azzurri.

    The backline is the same as that which started the 14-19 loss to New Zealand at Hong Kong two weeks ago, while the inclusion of McMeniman at six is the only alteration to the forward unit from that occasion.

    Mumm, who has worn that jersey in each of Australia’s tour outings to date, is this week named among the run on reserves, as is his state colleague, prop Matt Dunning.

    The pair are two of four NSW Waratahs among Australia’s forwards reserves, with the others being the Sydney housemates; hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and No 8 Wycliff Palu.

    In contrast, the Australian backline reinforcements hail entirely from Queensland, with experienced halfback Sam Cordingley and winger Digby Ioane being joined by flyhalf Quade Cooper, who made a telling contribution from the bench on Test debut last weekend.

    The 20-year-old scored the match-sealing try against Italy less than 10 minutes after taking the field.

    Barnes, Timana Tahu and Adam Freier were not considered due to injury. Tahu has returned to Australia after succumbing to a hamstring injury while Barnes (posterior cruciate ligament damage to his knee) has also been ruled out of further participation in the tour.

    Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who featured in a Test for New Zealand at London in 1983, says his side is excited by the opportunity ahead at Twickenham.

    “There’s great history in the sporting rivalry between Australia and England and Twickenham is a great stadium, and a special ground to play on. We’re looking forward to what we anticipate will be a great occasion.”

    Nor, he says, will his team be intimidated by a recent history that shows Australia has won just once from its last four visits to the home of rugby union in England.

    “This is a new group carving out its own way,” Deans says.

    “We won’t be distracted by what has gone before. Many of our players have never experienced playing at Twickenham before so it holds no baggage for them. The history has no real relevance for what is to come aside, perhaps, from highlighting the scale of the opportunity that is ahead of us!”

    South Africa’s Marius Jonker will referee the Test, replacing original appointee, New Zealander Steve Walsh, who is injured.

    The game is the third of the Qantas Wallabies Spring Tour following on from the matches against New Zealand at Hong Kong, and Italy in Padova.

    It will be followed by Tests against France (Paris) and Wales (Cardiff) on consecutive Saturdays before the tour concludes with a specially arranged midweek game against the Barbarians club at London’s Wembley Stadium on 3 December.

    That match commemorates the Olympic Gold Medal won by the Wallabies at the 1908 London Games.

    The Qantas Wallabies team to play England for the Cook Cup at Twickenham Stadium in London on Saturday 15 November (2.30pm kick off, local, 1.30am, 16 November, AEST), is:

    1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
    2. Stephen Moore (Queensland Reds)
    3. Al Baxter (NSW Waratahs)
    4. Mark Chisholm (Brumbies)
    5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force)
    6. Hugh McMeniman (Queensland Reds)
    7. George Smith (Brumbies)
    8. Richard Brown (Western Force)

    9. Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs)
    10. Matt Giteau (Western Force)
    11. Drew Mitchell (Western Force)
    12. Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies) captain
    13. Ryan Cross (Western Force)
    14. Peter Hynes (Queensland Reds)
    15. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies)

    Run on reserves:

    16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs)
    17. Matt Dunning (NSW Waratahs)
    18. Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs)
    19. Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
    20. Sam Cordingley (Queensland Reds)
    21. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
    22. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)




    Australia v England – Historical Notes

    • This is the 36th Test match between Australia and England. Australia has won 20 and England 14 while the 1997 contest in London resulted in a 15-15 draw.
    • England holds a narrow 10 wins to seven advantage with one drawn, from the 18 matches played on English soil. This includes victories in three of the last four matches played.
    • Flanker George Smith will tie Chris Latham, with 11, as the second most capped Australian player against England, behind George Gregan who featured on 16 occasions.
    • 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 Australia.
    • 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.

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    Last edited by Burgs; 12-11-08 at 08:45.

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    Well, all I hope is that Deans has made it plain to all the "experienced" forwards that this is last chance saloon - cock this up and there is absolutely no point in keeping them. It doesn't matter how they stack up most of the time, we need a scrum that can stand up against all comers. If these guys haven't reached that point given the three years they've had to make improvements, they never will and we have to move on to players that might.

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    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    Abso-f**king-lutely Andy, look to the future...

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Good to see the Force boys holding on to their places, Kudos to Richard Brown, what a stellar year he is having.

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    Champion Contributor Jehna's Avatar
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    Why the hell is Digby in the 22?

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    Veteran robyn <3's Avatar
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    Why the hell isn't Alexander there?

    And what the hell is MMM doing at 6 ahead of Mumm?

    Not terribly impressed, Deans. I don't think thats the best pack we can put forward. Bet the poms are celebrating about our front row

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    I think Deans is going for experience, then bulk in this line up.
    Notice he didn't even have another specialist open side flank on the bench (no waugh or pocock). that's pretty unusual.
    I think Deans is preparing for a very confrontational game on Saturday, with the forwards making or breaking the game, as they should in every game. Might be his plan to outmuscle the poms.
    Time for some payback after last year's world cup.

    I'm not happy with the digby ioane choice though. Think Lachlan Turner might be calling for it ahead of digby. JOC, unfortunately, a bit too small and too inexperienced for a big game like this.

    Great to see Brownie ahead of Palu as he should be after what a great season he's having.

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    Legend Contributor slomo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frontrow View Post
    Abso-f**king-lutely Andy, look to the future...
    dunning out, greg holmes in..........

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    Personally I think Dunning is the lesser of three evils at the moment Slomo. Agrre about Holmes though, except he is solely a Loosehead so more likely to replace Robinson if any of the three stooges.

    I'd prefer a fit McMenimen than a fit Mumm any day Robyn, Hugh is a far more aggressive player, which will be required, and is generally a more skilled player as well. His only downfall is his ability to get injured, but hell, Bernie made a career out of that!

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    Last edited by Burgs; 12-11-08 at 20:02.
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    Veteran robyn <3's Avatar
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    I thought that in the last few tests Mumm was fantastic. It was him who sprinted down at a restart and forced the error on McCaw. I think he has been brilliant. I guess we are going for experiance, but MMM fills me with very little faith. I daresay (and hope) Mumm will come on early in the game...

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    I reckon at some stage MMM and Chisholm will come off with Mumm in at lock, Brown to 6 and Palu in at 8

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    Just thinking, kind of funny that McMenimen gets "MMM" and Mumm is just Mumm

    Sorry...


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    atleast theres no tahu

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    C'mon the

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    Veteran TOCC's Avatar
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    i dont know why you dislike MMM, he is a great talent when he is fit, obviously he has being injured a lot, but at the moment he seems pretty fit. I have no problems with him starting.

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