Rugby: Wallabies coach turns to Tahs' winning halves duo for Boks clash

By David Barbeler

Kurtley Beale (centre) has been benched for the Wallabies match against South Africa in Perth. Picture / Getty Images
Kurtley Beale (centre) has been benched for the Wallabies match against South Africa in Perth. Picture / Getty Images

The Kurtley Beale No10 experiment has been aborted, with Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie naming Super Rugby title-winning halves Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps to take on South Africa in Perth this Saturday.

Beale and Brumbies halfback Nic White have both been benched following the Wallabies' 51-20 flogging from the All Blacks, but centre Matt Toomua, winger Rob Horne and star fullback Israel Folau have all held their spots in the backline.

Adam Ashley Cooper has shifted to the wing to cover for the retired Pat McCabe (neck), with Tevita Kuridrani getting the call-up at outside centre for the Patersons Stadium clash.

McKenzie's decision hands Foley and Phipps their first starting game side-by-side since leading the Waratahs to their first ever Super Rugby title one month ago.

"They've got a proven combination at Super Rugby level and we look forward to seeing how that translates into the test environment," he said.

"It's naturally disappointing for the two guys who missed out on the starting team in Nic and Kurtley, but the reality is we have a lot of good players in those playmaking positions."

In the only other starting change, Queensland rake James Hanson has been called up after a season-ending injury to Nathan Charles put further strains on Australia's hooker woes.

To combat the abrasive Springboks pack, McKenzie has opted for a forward-heavy 6-2 split on the bench.

Lock James Horwill returns to the matchday line-up at the expense of behemoth youngster Will Skelton, while Western Force captain Matt Hodgson and Reds hooker Saia Fainga'a get their first opportunities for Australia in 2014.

"Traditionally they [South Africa] are a forward-orientated side which uses their size, power and set-piece to put pressure on the opposition," he said.

"You have to confront that head-on and match fire with fire. The addition of an extra forward also offers us greater flexibility in how we approach our substitutions."

The Wallabies are in last place two rounds into the Rugby Championship. While they drew 12-all in game one against the All Blacks, Argentina has two losing bonus points against South Africa and sits in third place.

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper (c), Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Sam Carter, Sekope Kepu, James Hanson, James Slipper. Res: Saia Fainga'a, Pek Cowan, Ben Alexander, James Horwill, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Nic White, Kurtley Beale.

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