Australia V New Zealand

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Australia V New Zealand

Postby silly punt » October 30th, 2008, 12:05 pm

Deans rings changes, Muliaina withdraws

Australia v New Zealand : Australia coach Robbie Deans has made five changes to his Wallabies team for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand in Hong Kong. And New Zealand have been forced into a late change with Mils Muliaina withdrawing after his wife had a baby.

Australian wing Drew Mitchell, number eight Richard Brown, flanker Dean Mumm, lock Mark Chisholm and scrumhalf Luke Burgess were all added to the side that lost the last game to New Zealand in Brisbane last month.

Lote Tuqiri, Wycliff Palu, Hugh McMeniman and James Horwill were all left out because of injuries while scrumhalf Sam Cordingley was demoted to the bench.

Uncapped flanker David Pocock was also included among the reserves along with inside centre Berrick Barnes, who has not played since injuring his shoulder in South Africa in August.

"Saturday is an historic occasion and one that the players are excited about and proud to be a part of," Deans said in a statement. "I said after our last meeting that we'd be happy to play the All Blacks in a car park to have another game with them, and I stand by that.

"Each game offers us the opportunity to test ourselves and raise our standards, providing a great barometer of the progress that we've made as a team."

As holders, New Zealand have already retained the Bledisloe Cup for another season after winning two of their three meetings with the Wallabies, but Deans said the Australians were still desperate to win their first clash in Asia.

"While we'd obviously have liked the Bledisloe Cup series to have still been alive, the chance to gain a test win against New Zealand remains and that is an opportunity to be cherished."

Muliaina, meanwhile, was selected to start the match despite remaining in New Zealand for the birth of his first child, a son called Max, who was born on Tuesday.

However, All Blacks officials said today that Muliaina had withdrawn from the match to stay in New Zealand with his family for a few more days.

Auckland utility player Isaia Toeava was promoted from the bench to start at fullback while Wellington's uncapped Cory Jane joined the replacements.

Australia : A Ashley-Cooper; P Hynes, R Cross, S Mortlock (c), D Mitchell; M Giteau, L Burgess; B Robinson, S Moore, Al Baxter; M Chisholm, N Sharpe, D Mumm, G Smith, R Brown. Replacements : A Freier, M Dunning, P Waugh, D Pocock, S Cordingley, B Barnes, L Turner.

New Zealand : I Toeava; H Gear, C Smith, D Carter, S Sivivatu; S Donald, J Cowan; T Woodcock, A Hore, N Tialata, B Thorn, A Williams, J Kaino, Richie McCaw (c), R So'oialo. Replacements : K Mealamu, G Somerville, A Boric, A Thomson, P Weepu, M Nonu, C Jane.

© 2008 The Irish Times
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