Connect to share and comment

RugbyU: Beale, Tomane in for Wallabies for Lions Test

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Wallabies on Thursday made two enforced changes with Kurtley Beale and Joe Tomane coming in to a recast backline for the must-win second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne this weekend.

Beale, who missed a winning penalty attempt in the final minute of the Wallabies' 23-21 first Test loss, replaces the injured Berrick Barnes at full-back while Tomane takes over from winger Digby Ioane.

Coach Robbie Deans retained James O'Connor at fly-half despite his mixed reviews in last week's Brisbane Test and following pictures published in a British newspaper showing him out at 4 am on Wednesday after watching his Super Rugby team, the Melbourne Rebels, fall 35-0 to the Lions.

Beale was reportedly with him, although both players denied they were drinking and a Wallabies spokesman told reporters neither broke team rules.

"Obviously, that's not an ideal hour. We've had a conversation, for sure," Deans told a press conference.

"It's not best practice in terms of sleeping habits. I understand they were keen to catch up with their (Rebels) club mates, but I'm sure the senior playing group will be considering whether we need to make it more difficult (for them)."

Australia must win the Test at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium to keep the series alive for the final game in Sydney on Saturday week.

Christian Lealiifano was cleared to play at inside-centre after his Test debut in Brisbane was cruelly cut short in the opening minute in making a tackle on opposing Lions centre Jonathan Davies.

Lealiifano received the green light after undergoing extensive post-concussion tests and will resume the goal-kicking role, which fell to O'Connor and Beale with limited success in his absence.

"It's great (to have Lealiifano back). It was a pretty challenging circumstance last week. I haven't asked Christian if he remembers his time on the ground, but obviously great to get your first cap, but not great to be injured in your first outing," Deans said.

"He'll get the chance to experience a lot more this week and we'll get the benefit of that.

"I thought the boys did incredibly well under the circumstances, particularly as it was a domino effect that went from there to the extent where we had to play a forward in the backline. So for the team to work their way through and put themselves in the position to be able to win that game was remarkable."

Centre Pat McCabe is out for the rest of the year after sustaining a neck injury during last weekend's Test loss, while Ioane damaged his right shoulder and is also out for the series.

Adam Ashley-Cooper gave the Wallabies' hopes a boost when he was named at outside-centre after finishing the first Test with shoulder trouble.

In other changes, midfielder Rob Horne and uncapped fullback Jesse Mogg were both added to the reserves bench.

The inclusion of Tomane represents a second Test cap for the ACT Brumbies winger, more than 12 months after he made his debut for Australia against Scotland last year.

The Australian forward pack is unchanged from the opening Test, with front-rower Ben Alexander set to earn his 50th test cap.

Alexander joins Al Baxter (69), current front-row partner Benn Robinson (57) and Ewen McKenzie (51) as the only players to have achieved 50 Tests for Australia.

There was no place among the replacements for 110-Test flanker and sole Wallabies' 2001 series survivor George Smith, who was called up to the squad this week.

"This is his first full week of training. He'll be considered next week, but given the lack of background and he's well in advance of the prognosis we have to be realistic with that in terms of his re-entry," Deans said.

The Wallabies will be aiming to repeat their victory in the second Test of the last 2001 Lions tour after they had lost the opening Test in Brisbane and went on to win the series.

Australia (15-1) - Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane, James O'Connor, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Ben Mowen, James Horwill, Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson

Replacements: Saia Faingaa, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Liam Gill, Nick Phipps, Rob Horne, Jesse Mogg

rsm/lm

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130627/rugbyu-beale-tomane-wallabies-lions-test-0