Wallabies team named to play Lions in Third Test

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    Australian Rugby union head coach Robbie Deans. AAP Image/Paul Miller

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    Robbie Deans has named George Smith to start for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions in the deciding Test in Sydney.

    Smith’s return is a possible farewell Test appearance on Australian soil, after previously having retired during the 33-12 win over Wales in Cardiff at the end of the 2009 Spring Tour.

    The influence of Smith in the Brumbies was noted by Deans.

    “He’s class, isn’t he?” said Deans.

    “To have achieved what George has throughout his career, and return to play at the highest level, after such a long break, is a testament to the quality of the man, both as a person, and as a player.”

    Michael Hooper drops to the bench, while Liam Gill has missed selection as speculated.

    “The decision to go with George in no way reflects any dis-satisfaction with the way either Michael or Liam have played,” Deans says.

    “But it has been a tough series – the first two games have been rugged, especially at the breakdown, and we feel that the combination of experience and fresh legs that George brings is the right way to go for this week.

    “His expertise in the contact zone, where timing, judgement and physicality is everything, is going to be critical. Being able to call on George allows us to lighten the load on Michael while retaining the ability to inject him into what is sure to be a fast-paced and highly physical contest.”

    This has seen a 6-forward, 2-back bench, with Ben McCalman called in, while Rob Horne makes way.

    Nick Phipps and uncapped fullback Jesse Mogg provide the run on options across the back line.

    “The fact that this will be the third sell-out crowd, in what is such a competitive Australian sporting market, says it all,” said Deans.

    “Both sets of fans have been fantastic, the atmosphere in ground amazing, but with 80,000 seats available this weekend; this is our chance to drown out the sea of red.

    “I encourage all Australians – both those going to the game and those watching it around the country – to get into gold and get behind your Wallabies.

    “It really does make a massive difference to the players. You’ve seen how closely matched the two teams are: that support could be the point of difference that gets the Wallabies over the line.”

    The Wallabies team to play the British & Irish Lions in the third and deciding Tom Richards Cup Test on Saturday July 6 at ANZ Stadium, Sydney (kick-off: 8.05pm AEST, 11.05am UKST) is:

    15. Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels)
    14. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
    13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
    12. Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies)
    11. Joe Tomane (Brumbies)
    10. James O’Connor (Melbourne Rebels)
    9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds)
    8. Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
    7. George Smith (Brumbies)
    6. Ben Mowen (Brumbies)
    5. James Horwill (Queensland Reds, captain)
    4. Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs)
    3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
    2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
    1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)

    Run on Reserves:

    16. Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds)
    17. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
    18. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
    19. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds)
    20. Ben McCalman (Western Force)
    21. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs)
    22. Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels)
    23. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies)

    More to follow.

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    The Crowd Says (319)

    • July 4th 2013 @ 9:48am
      kombiutedriver said | July 4th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Well after yesterday’s leak this was expected.

    • July 4th 2013 @ 9:51am
      jutsie said | July 4th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      happy with the 15, was hoping the rumours about the 6/2 bench were wrong :S

      • July 4th 2013 @ 11:41am
        nickoldschool said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        Same here.

        • July 4th 2013 @ 12:37pm
          Nashi said | July 4th 2013 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

          I think the idea might be to use Smith at 12 if AAC or Lealiifano go down.

          • July 4th 2013 @ 1:54pm
            Amateur Hour said | July 4th 2013 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

            And what happens if both AAC and Lealiifano go down?

            Oh that would never happen, right?

            Deans is unbelievable.

            • July 4th 2013 @ 2:30pm
              zigzag said | July 4th 2013 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

              mogg to left wing tomae to 13, hooper to 12

              or hooper to 13, mogg to fullback beale t 10 JOC to 12

              • July 4th 2013 @ 2:40pm
                hoqni said | July 4th 2013 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

                Please note: WBs do not have a 10, so the permutations are already covered.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 3:12pm
                Amateur Hour said | July 4th 2013 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

                Oh well when you say it like that…now I’m a lot more comfortable…….

                Is that game of musical chairs played to the tune of Swing Low Sweet Chariot?

              • July 4th 2013 @ 3:54pm
                zigzag said | July 4th 2013 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

                and the likelihood of losing both centres in one match? i’ve seen it happen once in 30 years! whats the likelihood of it happening twice in the same series?

    • July 4th 2013 @ 9:53am
      Will Sinclair said | July 4th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      I am just so completely confident of a Wallabies victory on Saturday night that it’s starting to scare me.

      I am almost always wrong about these things.

      I have… the FEAR.

      • July 4th 2013 @ 10:04am
        eagleJack said | July 4th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        Based on your confidence that the Blues would win 3-0 Im also starting to get the FEAR!

        • July 4th 2013 @ 10:33am
          Will Sinclair said | July 4th 2013 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          To be fair Eagle, I just thought the Blues were very good value for 3-0 at $9.00… But, yeah, not my finest moment!

          I actually backed the Wallabies at $6.00 to win the series as I was walking out of Suncorp Stadium two weeks ago. I thought I had seen enough that night to show the Wallabies would dominate the rest of the series.

          A 76th minute try later…

          But there is no shaking the FEAR now. It’s got me.

      • July 4th 2013 @ 10:16am
        p.Tah said | July 4th 2013 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        As a fan always go into games expecting the worst… Then you’re never disappointed 😉

        Im a Waratah, Wallaby and Eels supporter 😉

        I was confident, now I’m beginning to doubt.

        • July 4th 2013 @ 12:02pm
          El gamba said | July 4th 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

          As a force supporter confidence has never been an issue for me PT

        • July 4th 2013 @ 1:35pm
          scottmit said | July 4th 2013 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          There are others! Tahs and Eels: 2 teams to test your loyalty

    • July 4th 2013 @ 9:55am
      mac said | July 4th 2013 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Great starting XV. Can understand wanting to keep breakdown pressure from the subs, but a 6/2 split? Unnecessarily risky should back line injuries happen. Would have loved to have seen Kimlin or MMM instead of Simmons, and just one specialist backrower (either Hooper or Gill) on the pine.

      • July 4th 2013 @ 10:58am
        mania said | July 4th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        agree other than palu starting, the most worrying thing is the 6-2 split. deans didnt learn from the 1st game whn 3-4 backs went down. all in all i’m happy with the squad, mind u i was happy with the squad at the beginning of the series.
        just gotta make sure the wb’s dont get over confident and take the lions seriously

        • July 4th 2013 @ 11:47am
          Chivas said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          Interesting. Looks like Deans feels he can gain an edge at the break down and if they can improve on their handling that shoul be enough to get them home. I’m inclined to agree. If they maintain or increase their percentage in the possession stakes over the last game, maintain their defence against this side I think it’s game on. Not sure they have the luxury to be able to pick players because AAC is suspect to injury. Who would you drop for Horne, a prop? That’s all I can think of. You can’t say Simmonds, regardless of what people think, you must have genuine lock cover.

          In saying that The Wallabies have been lucky with injuries during the series. The only two players injured were fringe players. Ultimately it means Kimlin and MMM haven’t got a run. ButI still wouldn’t have them as first choice lock cover.

          So in my opinion the bench, highlights where Deans and the management team think they can gain some ascendency and keep it for the full 80. If they can get through without injury this is a pretty good looking side including bench.

          I know a lot of people buy into the rhetoric that Deans has no plan, no player management blah, blah, blah… but he’s pulled off some rather sneaky clever moves and plans that have caught oppositions out completely. As you have commented before, he has done some shrewd things in his time as a coach. People think he steals ideas off Link, like he game to these shores with no experience and you can’t argue with a billboard or rhetoric. So I think this could be a great ploy and a great side.

          The backs have the ability to run off anything and can only get better. I still worry about Beale defensively. But this team need a few seasons together to find one another and evolve. They have a solid base. Did I say I like Tomane. The kid impresses me. Imagine Speight and Folau to fullback. Real pressure for positions then.

          From the dung heap they arose from when Deans turned up to the Nextel RWC which all things going well they will be a red hot shot at is quite remarkable.

          I am looking to see this Wallaby side step it up another level this weekend and this side looks like they can do it…. on paper at least 🙂

          • July 4th 2013 @ 12:13pm
            Justin3 said | July 4th 2013 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

            The bench is wrong. Happy to have a lock specialist but you cant then have two back-rowers on there as well. Kimlin or MMM would be a far better option. Kimlin has shown he can handle any back five position with aplomb as Super level.

            The Wallabies wont have the same possession stats again. That number was more due to the Lions playing kick and chase all night and not keeping the ball. I believe now they have their first choice centres back and more power up front they will be less inclined to kick it away as often and really test the AUS defence.

            Can you expand on “he’s pulled off some rather sneaky clever moves and plans that have caught oppositions out completely. As you have commented before, he has done some shrewd things in his time as a coach.”. I interested to hear your thoughts…

            I agree on the backs, they can only get better, they have been absolutely awful as a unit so the only way is up…as usual it has been a couple of individuals showing brilliance and little else. But thats what you get with no combinations and players out of position and under done.

            • July 4th 2013 @ 3:32pm
              Defier Pariah said | July 4th 2013 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

              Not 1 player in that backline is playing out of position.
              The only 1 that could be really considered as out of position is Folau but even thats a stretch considering he is a converted league winger that has played wing in union in about 25% of his games now.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 5:14pm
                Justin3 said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

                Well if you think JOC is a 5/8 then the discussion is pointless. But thanks for telling me there are no players out of position and then naming one in the next breath…

              • Roar Guru

                July 4th 2013 @ 5:40pm
                PeterK said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

                Folau played far more centre than wing in league so he is more a converted league centre.

                He has played 3/17 games at wing in rugby thats 18% not 25%.

                Folau is playing out of position.

                Agree the rest are in their positions except the most important one JoC.

            • July 4th 2013 @ 4:14pm
              Defier Pariah said | July 4th 2013 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

              Justin3, heres your “point of difference”.

              Deans has listened to you.

            • July 4th 2013 @ 5:21pm
              Defier Pariah said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

              How is that a player playing out of position?
              He has played more 10 than any other position over the last 2 years.
              He plays 10 for his club.
              Tell me what JOC position is. Its not wing, its not fullback, its not 12, its nowhere.
              The Rebels 10 is playing 10 for Australia.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 5:44pm
                Dan H said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

                Managing to be completely inept at the roles required at that position in both levels.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 9:13pm
                Justin3 said | July 4th 2013 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

                It’s simple, he is an utterly shti 10 and should be nowhere near it. He is a winger and I’d suggest you actually have a look at how much ten he has payed in the last two years…

            • Roar Guru

              July 4th 2013 @ 5:42pm
              PeterK said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

              I too was waiting with bated breath re the sneaky clever moves and plans that caught oppsoitions out completely, it does seem there will be a long long wait.

            • July 4th 2013 @ 6:32pm
              Defier Pariah said | July 4th 2013 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

              Peter he was a converted wing who also played centre. Much like JOC is a 10 that also plays wing etc.
              Folau has been excellent on the wing because playing at fullback is far more playing out of position than wing is and that was obvious as anytme he got the ball in the centre of the field he passed and tended to always try to outflank the opposition and thats mainly where he chose to run. As I said, you should probably be applauding Deans for playing Izzy at 14 because he has been excellent.
              JOC may not have played well so far but he is not playing out of position. He plays 10 for his club. You may think wing is his best position but Deans and his last 2 club coaches disagree and so does JOC.

              • July 5th 2013 @ 5:56am
                Justin3 said | July 5th 2013 @ 5:56am | ! Report

                Again I’d suggest you look at how much ten he has played at club level and how well he has played also. He has rarely been first choice ten with a full squad, for good reason. The rebels have done better without him at ten

        • July 4th 2013 @ 11:47am
          Chivas said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          Darn double post…

      • July 4th 2013 @ 11:28am
        jameswm said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:28am | ! Report

        I can’t believe they go for Simmons ahead of MMM or Kimlin. Kimlin covers 4, 5, 6 and 8, so you wouldn’t need McCalman.

        MMM covers 4, 5, 6, but Smith covers 8, so he’d work too.

        Instead we get two journeyman types on the bench. McCalman will rip in, but he’s just not strong, fast or good enough to make an impact.

        • July 4th 2013 @ 3:35pm
          Defier Pariah said | July 4th 2013 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

          I think you are missing the point. Deans doesnt just want injury cover, he wants players to come on and make impact off the bench. Kimlin cant come on in 2 positions.

          • July 4th 2013 @ 5:41pm
            Dan H said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

            The only impact mccalman has had in any wallabies performance is to add the power of invisibility. Kimlin a far smarter pick. Whilst I think simmons is a good starting lock with hard graft he is very much a player in the same mould of douglas. Which is why MMM would have been the better pick for impact. But pray tell do go on….

            • July 4th 2013 @ 6:40pm
              Defier Pariah said | July 4th 2013 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

              Dan H. I agree that both Kimlin and MMM would be better on the bench. I was referring to the idea that Kimlin should have covered 4,5,6,8 when the idea of having Simmons and Macalman is so he can replace 2 players in those positions and not 1. Thats the obvious that was overlooked.
              Please dont talk to me in that tone. You have obviously missed the point of my post and then tried to irritate me afterwards.
              Just post your opinion without the attitude please. And please think about my post before being reactionary. I was not saying McCalman should have been picked.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 10:28pm
                Dan H said | July 4th 2013 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

                I am reading what you are saying. If RD is going for impact I would suggest hes picking the wrong players. If you actually read james post he is not suggesting kimlin replace two players but rather the positions he covers. He is agreeing with both you and I if you agree with my post.

    • July 4th 2013 @ 9:55am
      Arab Pumper said | July 4th 2013 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Hmm an interesting XV…I still think we be in for a pumping

      Will Nicky Horton back for the Lions we will have to muscle up in defence

      Also Philip Taper will be a player we need to shut down at the maul breakdown

    • July 4th 2013 @ 9:57am
      formeropenside said | July 4th 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      So yesterday’s leak was right, and Gill is dropped. Well done Robbie.

      • July 4th 2013 @ 9:59am
        Rob G said | July 4th 2013 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        + 1. It was the right move wasn’t it FOS

      • July 4th 2013 @ 10:00am
        jutsie said | July 4th 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        +2 FOS, love ya optimism mate

        • July 4th 2013 @ 10:21am
          kingplaymaker said | July 4th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Agreed fos, he had no impact aside from one lineout steal and did almost nothing in his 8 appearances last year. With Faiingaa appearing at the Brumbies and when Pocock returns to fitness, not being in the 22 could be a normal state of affairs.

          • July 4th 2013 @ 11:22am
            Red Block said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

            Yet he keeps selecting Palu. What gives?

            • July 4th 2013 @ 11:26am
              kingplaymaker said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              Maybe Palu’s superior physicality and workrate?

              • July 4th 2013 @ 11:28am
                kombiutedriver said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:28am | ! Report

                When?

            • July 4th 2013 @ 11:32am
              zigzag said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:32am | ! Report

              perhaps beacuse Palu topped our forward run stats and was second in breakdown stats in 60min of rugby… maybe thats why!

              or maybe its because he had similar stats in the 1st test

              or maybe its because he was our best forward on last years tour of europe…

              take your pick

              • July 4th 2013 @ 1:20pm
                Short-Blind said | July 4th 2013 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

                Zig Palu’s run stats are misleading as he is the one that takes the ball up from long kick offs and that is usually 5+ free metres. If you measured his hard yards in traffic I’m betting he wouldn’t be topping the forward run stats…probably Moore or even Robinson (1st test anyway).

                Deans should get their wingers to do the kickoff returns because Palu takes so long to wind up he ends up being hit deep in our own 22 and under pressure. Once the pattern is established they should have Folau or Tomane taking the ball up after the kick reception and the have Cliffy coming from deep (wound up) on the next phase. Some basic stuff that doesn’t seem to be improving.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 1:38pm
                Justin3 said | July 4th 2013 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                Exactly SB – stats are useless unless they have context.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 2:32pm
                zigzag said | July 4th 2013 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

                you are wrong… Palu made the 2nd most metres for the match in tight behind only Moore.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 3:57pm
                zigzag said | July 4th 2013 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                J3 i agree about context but Palu has done a tonne of important work.

                The only reason not to appreciate him is if you have an agenda ie to slag off as many players that aren’t reds as possible… that seems to be it with a lot of haters

              • July 4th 2013 @ 3:59pm
                handles said | July 4th 2013 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                I thought Hooper was being selected because he was our best forward on last year’s tour of Europe? And where do the tight running statistics come from, that differentiate the metres on kick-off return from the metres in tight? Would love to see them.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 4:07pm
                zigzag said | July 4th 2013 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

                handles, there was no way hooper who had1.5 decent games on last years tour was our best.

                rugbystats com has splits of run metres.

                Palu had 1 open run making 6m

                4 in tight for 20m

                4 pick and drives for 4m

                3 kick returns for 11m

                12 runs in total for 41m with the only comparable player hooper with 11 runs for 45m

                for Palu this is par and i think he’s got a gooden in him this weekend.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 4:46pm
                handles said | July 4th 2013 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

                Cheers! The Hooper dig was aimed at those who had promoted that argument – I agree with you.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 5:16pm
                Justin3 said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

                zignag – Im not a reds supporter, I livein Melborne and am a Rebels member but the chip you have about anything north of the Tweed is highly amusing but very boring and stu*pid

              • July 4th 2013 @ 5:50pm
                zigzag said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

                yeah right as if you are not from qld originally

          • July 4th 2013 @ 1:37pm
            scottmit said | July 4th 2013 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

            Ah but what a steal! To be replayed through the ages…

            • July 4th 2013 @ 3:41pm
              Defier Pariah said | July 4th 2013 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

              He stood there and caught it after one of the other forwards had competed well enough to upset the oposition jumpers.
              That “steal” by Gill was nothing special on Gills behalf.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 4:01pm
                handles said | July 4th 2013 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

                Agreed. That steal was a highlight, and a wonderful piece of skill, but hardly basis for selection. Please refer to the analysis on G&G of the loose forward performance last week for more explanation of what was special about his performance.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 4:06pm
                Jerry said | July 4th 2013 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

                He caught with his outside hand while holding off his opposite number – it was a great piece of play and was definitely something special.

              • July 4th 2013 @ 11:49pm
                roardog said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:49pm | ! Report

                mowen spoiled

            • July 4th 2013 @ 5:17pm
              Defier Pariah said | July 4th 2013 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

              No Jerry the Lions jumpers didnt execute, Gill went for the ball and tried to push it back with his hand (no longer his outside arm) but because the oposition player had his hand on it too the ball was held in between the 2 players arms and because the Wallabies were moving forward they got the ball. He didnt hold a player off or even catch the ball. It was good skill but it was the context that made it special.

      • July 4th 2013 @ 11:43am
        nickoldschool said | July 4th 2013 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        Seems like leaks are the new trend! Why bother with a press Conf the day after the leak then?

        • July 4th 2013 @ 1:50pm
          jutsie said | July 4th 2013 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          i think the ARU are trying to be hip and trendy by using twitter and leaks, but its had no effect on promoting the game.

          • July 4th 2013 @ 3:07pm
            nickoldschool said | July 4th 2013 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

            Or maybe they inadvertently leaked it via twitter thinking it was actually an email sent to ‘close friends’, who knows!? Being mean I know, been a long day already!

            Just think that when it happens twice in a row we can’t call it a ‘leak’ anymore! It has to be a team announced prematurely then. Just sayin!

      • Roar Guru

        July 4th 2013 @ 12:21pm
        JDP said | July 4th 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

        + 3 FOS – couldn’t agree more.

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