Wallabies coach Robbies Deans has named a starting XV featuring two changes for the second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne on Saturday.
Kurtley Beale is promoted from the bench to take over at full-back from Berrick Barnes, who is suffering from concussion sustained in the first Test while Joe Tomane comes in on the left wing for Digby Ioane, who has a shoulder injury.
Midfielder Rob Horne (14 Tests) and the uncapped full-back Jesse Mogg have both been added to the bench. The pair have already tangled with the Lions on this tour, appearing for the Waratahs and Brumbies respectively.
Brumbies front-rower Ben Alexander will become just the 38th Australian to feature in 50 Tests after being named in an unchanged pack.
Three Wallabies received their introduction to Test rugby last weekend, taking the number of players whom have represented the country to 869. Thus this weekend’s achievement places Alexander among the four percent of all Australian representatives who have been able to reach the 50-Test milestone.
Saturday’s match, at a sold out Etihad Stadium, is the second of the three Test series, with Australia needing to win to keep the race for the Tom Richards Cup alive.
Last weekend’s 21-23 loss in the opening Test in Brisbane came at a cost for the Wallabies.
While replacement back Pat McCabe has also been ruled out after suffering a blow to his neck at Suncorp Stadium, his Brumbies team-mate Christian Leali’ifano has been cleared to resume, after his Test debut in Brisbane was cruelly cut short in the opening minute following a midfield collision with Wales and Lions inside centre Jonathan Davies.
Leali’ifano received the green light after undergoing the extensive post-concussion tests required by the IRB protocols, and will resume the goal-kicking role, which fell to James O’Connor and Beale in his absence.
The 25-year-old has long looked forward to the Melbourne Test, having been raised in Victoria and played his junior rugby for the Northwood Panthers club.
The inclusion of Tomane represents a second Test cap for the Brumbies winger, over 12 months after he made his debut for Australia on a wintery night against Scotland at Newcastle in June, last year.
As with last week’s Test debutant Israel Folau, Tomane has strong Melbourne connections.
The former Australian Schools rugby union representative dabbled in rugby league, being part of a playing roster which also included Folau, at the Melbourne Storm during the first of his two seasons at the club in 2008. Tomane, who was born in New Zealand but raised in Australia, returned to rugby union last year after four seasons in the 13-man code.
Folau last week became just the 19th Wallaby to score two or more tries on Test debut and will be gunning for more as he returns to Etihad Stadium for the first time since 2009 when he played rugby league for the Brisbane Broncos against his former club, the Melbourne Storm.
Only one player: Waratahs winger Owen Crossman, has scored two tries on debut for Australia, and followed it up with a try second time up.
Crossman, who scored his ‘debut double’ against the New Zealand Maori in 1923, went on to post a try in each of the second and third Tests of that series.
Up front, Alexander joins Al Baxter (69), current front-row partner Benn Robinson (57) and Ewen McKenzie (51) as the only players to have achieved the 50-Test mark; with his completion of this achievement meaning that Australia will, for the first time, enter a Test match with all three starting front-rowers having played in excess of 50 Test matches.
Hooker Stephen Moore, who packs down between Robinson and Alexander, is already the most capped Australian in that position: on Saturday he will play his 78th Test match.
Team : 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg.
Date: Saturday, June 29
Venue: Docklands Stadium (Etihad Stadium), Melbourne
Kick-off: 10.05 FJ Time (11.05 BST, 10.05 GMT)