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Thread: Australian Wallabies Team Named for World Cup Semi

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    Australian Wallabies Team Named for World Cup Semi

    The fitness of fullback Kurtley Beale, who is recovering from a strain in his left hamstring, will determine whether Australia fields an unchanged starting XV in Sunday night’s much anticipated Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Auckland.

    The Australian selectors have chosen to delay until the final moment a decision on Beale’s fitness as he continues his recovery, with the mercurial NSW Waratahs playmaker bracketed alongside the multi talented Adam Ashley-Cooper for the position, in the line-up announced today.

    Ashley-Cooper is similarly bracketed at centre, alongside the Queensland Reds Anthony Fainga’a, who will slot into the midfield in a flow on effect should Beale ultimately be ruled out, and Ashley-Cooper line up at fullback.

    The final piece of the selection jig-saw surrounding Beale concerns the bench, with NSW Waratahs centre Rob Horne set to reappear after recovering from a facial fracture should Anthony Fainga’a be required for starting duties.

    The switch for Ashley-Cooper, if it eventuates, shouldn’t prove too disruptive as the 27-year-old has played from fullback on 19 previous occasions among his 62 Tests to date.

    Beale has twice left the field with the same hamstring strain during Rugby World Cup.

    After being Australia’s internal Player of the Day against Ireland, he retired 38 minutes into the following week’s Pool C match against the United States of America, taking the decision to withdraw after feeling a “general tightness” in the muscle.

    Beale was subsequently rested from the final Pool match against Russia before returning in the gripping 11-9 quarter-final win over South Africa, where he excelled from the back before retiring six minutes before the end with a reoccurrence of the injury.

    Scans last Monday in Auckland subsequently confirmed a small strain although the team’s medical staff have worked tirelessly since in an attempt to return the fullback to playing duties.

    “We will leave it as long as we can before making a decision,” Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says.

    “It will be tough on Kurtley if he has to miss this one, but we will take no chances. If he can’t play, he will contribute off the field as he always does. Adam and Ant are both good men. They will do a more than capable job in Kurtley’s absence.”

    Although the loss of one of last year’s IRB nominees for Player of the Year who was also the recent John Eales Medal winner would be a blow, Deans says the resilience his men showed during the epic win over the reigning Rugby World Cup holders would stand the group in good stead for the massive challenge ahead.

    “The players all know the role-play. They all have a good understanding of what is required,” he says.

    “It’s no different to when we had to relocate Radike from No 8 to the wing in Nelson! These are all challenges that tournament play brings, especially when it reaches the knock out stages, and when squad resources [playing numbers] are limited. We routinely plan for these eventualities, working out the options we will have available to us, and are fortunate to have the amount of versatility in the squad that we have.”

    Although Ashley-Cooper returns to fullback for the first time in Tests this year, the 27-year-old is well versed in the role. The 19 Tests he has played in the position, all of which have come during the Deans tenure as Australian coach, already rate Ashley-Cooper as the sixth most capped Wallaby fullback of all time, just two appearances behind former custodian Arthur McGill.

    Anthony Fainga’a made a telling contribution defensively in the final moments once he took the field from the bench during last weekend’s match, proving that he was well beyond the heavy head knock he sustained during the 67-5 win over the United States of America last month.

    Fainga’a has been a regular in the Test backline for a good portion of this season, having made his debut against the All Blacks in Christchurch last year.

    He teamed in the midfield with inside centre Pat McCabe during the Wallabies wins over both South Africa (coming off the bench) and New Zealand (from a starting role) at the back end of the team’s Tri Nations triumph earlier this year.

    McCabe, who has been troubled by an injured shoulder, has recovered quickly, playing a full part in training this week without any problems.

    While the starting forward pack remains the same as that which tackled South Africa last week, with prop Sekope Kepu having recovered from a rolled ankle in time to play, the bench will see two changes if Beale doesn’t front.

    In that instance, Horne will return, having overcome the fractured cheekbone he sustained in the win over the United States of America.

    Horne played 47 minutes against the Americans, scoring the game’s first try, despite having sustained a heavy knock in the first collision of the game which was later diagnosed as a facial fracture.

    “It’s great to have Rob back. He’s a courageous young man and a real talent,” Deans says.

    “He was fully tested this week in contact during training and has come back fine.”

    The confirmed change among the run on reserves is a straight swap, with the abrasive Queensland Reds second row Rob Simmons stepping in for Nathan Sharpe.

    Deans says that selection represents a ‘horses for courses’ approach, with the selectors feeling that the abrasive Simmons was best suited for the physical challenge presented by the All Black forwards.

    While Australia’s last win against New Zealand at Eden Park was in 1986 – the year before Rugby World Cup began – and the All Blacks have not lost at the ground to anyone for 17 years through 26 matches, Deans doesn’t believe the history will play any part in Sunday’s contest.

    “The circumstances this weekend are unique,” he says.

    “It’s a tough place to play, and those are impressive numbers for sure, but they don’t matter once Sunday night’s match kicks off. Rugby World Cup elimination matches are stand alone contests, distinct from any other that are played in the international game. The pressure is divided equally on both sides as there is no tomorrow, and the ultimate prize [a place in the Rugby World Cup final] awaits the side which earns that right of passage.”

    The match will be refereed by Craig Joubert of South Africa.

    The Wallabies team to play New Zealand in the second semi-final at the Rugby World Cup, at Eden Park, Auckland on Sunday (kick-off: 9pm NZ time, 7pm AEDST) is:

    15. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs) or Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies)
    14. James O’Connor (Western Force)
    13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies) or Anthony Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)
    12. Pat McCabe (Brumbies)
    11. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)
    10. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
    9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds)
    8. Radike Samo (Queensland Reds)
    7. David Pocock (Western Force)
    6. Rocky Elsom (Brumbies)
    5. James Horwill (Queensland Reds, captain)
    4. Dan Vickerman (NSW Waratahs)
    3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
    2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
    1. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)

    Reserves:
    16. Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs)
    17. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
    18. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds)
    19. Ben McCalman (Western Force)
    20. Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs)
    21. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs)
    22. Anthony Fainga’a (Queensland Reds) or Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs)


    Australia v New Zealand – Historical Notes

    • This is the 167th match of a trans-Tasman rivalry that dates back to 1903 when New Zealand won the inaugural meeting 22-3 in Sydney.
    • This tally includes the 24 matches played between 1920 and 1928 when NSW represented Australia.
    • Of the 166 games played between the two nations, New Zealand has won 114 and Australia 47, with five draws – the most recent of which occurred in Brisbane 23 years ago, when the two teams finished at 19-19 in the second match of the 1988 series. There have been 58 matches between the teams since the last drawn game.
    • This is the third meeting between the two countries at Rugby World Cup, with each occurring at the semi-final stage. Australia beat New Zealand 16-6 at Dublin during the 1991 tournament, which the Wallabies went on to win, and 22-10 at the same stage of the 2003 event in Australia.
    • Sunday’s match is the 40th to be played by the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup, and Australia’s fifth semi-final. The Wallabies have won 32 of their matches at the tournament, and three of their four previous semi-finals.
    • Champions at the inaugural tournament in 1987, which they won in a final at Eden Park, New Zealand has advanced to the final just once since.
    • The Wallabies haven’t prevailed at Eden Park since 1986, when an Andrew Slack-led side won 22-9 to claim the Bledisloe Cup after a 2-1 series win.
    • The last example of an Australian win against the All Blacks on New Zealand soil was in 2001, when the Wallabies scored 23-15 in Dunedin. The All Blacks have won the 12 games that have been played between the two teams in New Zealand since that match.
    • 2001 was also the last instance of Australia winning consecutive Tests against New Zealand.
    • The first Test between Australia and New Zealand in Auckland was played in 1925, with the home side winning 36-10.
    • There have been 24 Tests between the two sides in the city, with New Zealand winning 20 of those contests and Australia four.
    • Australia’s wins were achieved in 1949 (16-9), 1955 (8-3), 1978 (30-16) and 1986 (22-9).
    • New Zealand has won the last 12 Tests it has played against Australia at Eden Park, and has not been defeated on the ground by any country since France prevailed 23-20 in 1994.
    • New Zealand has not lost a Test at Eden Park in 17 years with the All Blacks’ undefeated sequence at the venue this year being extended to 26 matches, 25 of which have been won after the run started with an 18-18 draw with South Africa in 1994.
    • Saturday night represents the 79th Test to have been played by New Zealand at Eden Park. The All Blacks have won 66 of these, which includes the 1987 Rugby World Cup final against France, while losing 10, with two others drawn.

    http://www.rugby.com.au/wallabies/Ne...9/Default.aspx

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    Australia named for World Cup semi

    I am in complete shock right now what is RD's doing????? Where is Sharpe???????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????? I cant understand what his problems is Sharpe saved the game for us last week when he came on! He wants players to physically challenge the All blacks and yet he brings in Simmons? Sharpe made 15 tackles in 27 mins is that not physical enough for you??? Also the Lineout was a sham last week and now look what’s coming in of the bench a rookie who has no idea in the biggest game in Aus rugby in the last decade? Not to mention the slap in the face to Sharpe for his 100th game which you would have though might have been some sort of motivation? Robbie needs to go im sorry but this is a joke!

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    I can't beleive it. I don't think you would find anyone agreeing with Simmons getting picked over Sharpie, even Queenslanders. What is so physical about Simmons, I am pretty sure the blacks would be more concerned with Sharpie's lineout skills rather than Simmons coming on and apparantly smashing them

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    Sharpie's omission is just unbelievable. What more does the man have to do to prove his worth and commitment to Australian rugby? And so close to his ton as well. Just disgusting.

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    Simmons could do the gentlemanly thing and pull up with a mild groin strain Sunday morning ...

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    i wouldn't want to be around hertryk any time soon... watch out kiwis, she will eat you alive!

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    Perhaps Shrpies ommission is meant to be motivation to teh team to win so he can get his 100th cap in the final?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
    Perhaps Shrpies ommission is meant to be motivation to the team to win so he can get his 100th cap in the final?
    Even If they loose there will be another game in the play off for 3rd. (Should RD in all his Wisdome Play Sharpe!)

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    i actually feel embarrassed to be an asutralian

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    No Sharpe?

    Pat McCabe with one arm?

    Oh cruel fate, to be thusly boned! Ask not for whom the bone bones - it bones for thee.

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    Boo Robbie.

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    If beale is out then i an very worried. 2 non creative centres not good. Bernes Needs to come on at 12 Horne 13 maybe?

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    Gutted for the big guy.

    Still, if there is one major difference between the Wallabies pack and that of the All Blicks, its perhaps dynamism. Guys like McCaw, Read, Kaino, Whitelock and Mealamu are powerful, but also mobile and quick.

    Their backs, on the other hand, are quick, but also offer power. So for us to pull this one out of the bag, we need to match them.

    Moore, Horwill, Samo, Poey and Rocky need to all have blinders. And our backs really need to man up.

    Go you good things!

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    The only thing good about Simmons being named is that I've placed a sacrificial bet on the AllBlacks, when he stinks and we lose, at least I'll make some vCash!

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    C'mon the

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    AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHH, Not sure what Sharpe has done to Deans, but Big Man do not worry you will feel the "love" again when we hit NIB for the start of 2012 S15

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