Wallabies announced unchanged lineup for second Test vs Wales
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Wallabies coach Robbie Deans. AAP Image/Dave Hunt
An unchanged Wallabies lineup will face the Welsh in the second Wales Tour Test in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Wallabies fought out a close 27 – 19 win over Wales in Brisbane last Saturday, with only prop Sekope Kepu in injury doubt, suffering a strained tendon in his forearm during the match.
Kepu has reported fit for duty, but coach Robbie Deans is taking few chances.
“We are hopeful that ‘Keps’ will be good to go, but we do have a contingency plan in place if we need it,” Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says.
“There are five props in the group we have with us in Melbourne so we saw no need in bringing anyone extra in.”
Debutant Cooper Vuna has also been retained on the wing.
“Cooper did well, and he will have learned a lot from that experience,” said Deans.
“The pace of the game is faster than at any other level – he acknowledged that afterwards, but Cooper still had some critical involvements in Brisbane, and will be better prepared this week now that he knows what to expect.”
Deans says the continuity of the selection reflected the level of last weekend’s performance, although he acknowledged that the same would not be good enough for the return bout against the Six Nations champions.
“The Welsh will have seen a lot of opportunity in last weekend’s Test,” said Deans.
“They showed during their Six Nations campaign that they are resilient – twice winning games in the final moments.
That trait was apparent again in a 12-minute period in Brisbane when they closed from 6-20 to 19-20, to put themselves in a position to win the game after we had made the better start.”
The Welsh camp, who are this week being joined in Melbourne by their injured head coach Warren Gatland and play the Brumbies tonight at Canberra Stadium, remain confident of winning in Australia.
“That belief won’t have been altered by last Saturday night,” Deans says.
“If anything, that game – and more particularly the opportunities that they were able to create within in it – will only have hardened their resolve.”
The Wallabies team to play in the second Wales Tour Test match for the James Bevan Trophy at Etihard Stadium in Melbourne on Saturday (kick-off: 8pm AEST) is:
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Joe Tomane, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock (capt), Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.
Reserves: Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Nic White, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris.
This is the 34th meeting between the two sides. Australia has won 22 of the previous Tests and Wales 10, with the 2006 clash at the Millennium Stadium drawn 29-29.
Australia has beaten Wales at its last five attempts since 2009, which has established the Wallabies’ second longest winning streak against that nation, bettered only by the nine wins Australia achieved consecutively between 1991 and 2003.
This will be the 12th Test played by the Qantas Wallabies at Etihad Stadium, with Australia having won nine and lost only two at the venue.
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