Rugby: Deans makes three changes to Wallabies

Adam Ashley-Cooper will welcome three new team mates for Saturday's clash with the All Blacks.
Adam Ashley-Cooper will welcome three new team mates for Saturday's clash with the All Blacks.

Robbie Deans has made three personnel changes and a positional switch to Australia's starting lineup for Saturday's Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup rugby test against New Zealand.

Kurtley Beale was named at fullback on Thursday with the Faingaa twins earning starting spots: Anthony at inside center in place of Berrick Barnes and Saia replacing Stephen Moore at hooker.

Adam Ashley-Cooper moves from fullback to outside center to cover for Rob Horne, who broke his elbow in last week's 49-28 loss to the All Blacks in Melbourne.

Barnes and Moore have been demoted to the reserves bench, where they are joined by winger Cameron Shepherd who makes his return to the test arena for the first time since Australia played France in 2008.

Australia must win in Christchurch for the first time in 12 years to have any chance of winning the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup titles.

Ashley-Cooper, who will play his 43rd test on Saturday, has featured at center on four occasions for the Wallabies in recent seasons, including three times during last year's Tri-Nations series.

His most recent outing in midfield for Australia was during last year's test against the All Blacks in Wellington.

The Faingaa twins last weekend became the 40th set of brothers and the third twins to appear in a test match for Australia after coming off the bench. They will start alongside each other at test level for the first time.

New Zealand is unbeaten in six tests this season and can clinch both the Tri-Nations title and retain the Bledisloe Cup if it can produce its ninth straight win over the Wallabies.

The All Blacks earlier made only one enforced change to their starting lineup, naming Piri Weepu at halfback in place of injured Jimmy Cowan.

Wallabies team named to play All Blacks:

Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Anthony Faingaa, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Will Genia, Richard Brown, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom (captain), Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, Salesi Ma'afu, Saia Faingaa, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Matt Hodgson, Luke Burgess, Berrick Barnes, Cameron Shepherd.

- AP, NZPA

- NZ Herald

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