Wallabies: Polota Nau injured, Stephen Moore to start
Stephen Moore will celebrate becoming Australia’s most capped Test hooker alongside Jeremy Paul by starting in Saturday night’s Test against New Zealand, replacing Tatafu Polota Nau who has pulled out of the XV with injury.
Polota Nau ruled himself out following today’s training run in Sydney.
The NSW Waratahs hooker, who started in last week’s opening Bledisloe Cup Test of the year in Sydney, suffered a cork in his backside at Tuesday’s training session.
While the injury has showed improvement, and Polota Nau was named in this morning’s starting line-up, he was again troubled by the injury during today’s session, approaching the coaches afterwards to stand down.
As the Wallabies seven-man reserves bench won’t be confirmed until after tomorrow’s captain’s run at Eden Park, Polota Nau may still be included among the reserves, should he complete that session without discomfort.
“It’s not ideal but it’s a mature decision that Tatafu has made,” said Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.
“We are in the fortunate position of having good depth at hooker – the fact that we are bringing in a player who is about to become Australia’s leading hooker in terms of Test appearances, highlights that.
“If Tatafu can complete training tomorrow, it may well be that this simply becomes a case of reversing the order in which we use them.”
For his part, Polota Nau says his decision was straight forward.
“The team comes first. If I can get through training tomorrow, I’ll be available for the bench, but everyone needed to know what was going on now, the team needed to be certain who was playing hooker, and I couldn’t provide that,” he says.
“This is a massive game for us. Everyone needs to be at their peak if we are to give ourselves a chance.”
The Wallabies depart for Auckland this afternoon. A party of 25 players is travelling, with the seven reserves to be determined following tomorrow’s captain’s run at Eden Park at 12.30pm (NZT).
A third hooker, Queensland Reds rake Saia Fainga’a, is among the players travelling.
The revised Wallabies starting XV to play New Zealand in the second Test of The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday (kick-off: 7.35pm NZ time, 5.35pm AEST) is:
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
14. Drew Mitchell (NSW Waratahs)
13. Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs)
12. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs)
11. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)
10. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds, captain)
8. Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds)
7. Michael Hooper (Brumbies)
6. Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force)
4. Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs)
3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
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