Wallabies make two changes


HONG KONG, October 28 – The Wallabies have made two changes to the starting side to contest Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Hong Kong.
Tighthead prop Ben Alexander and winger Drew Mitchell return to the team after missing the final match of the Tri Nations Series against the All Blacks in Sydney last month through injury.

Alexander returns from a knee injury sustained in the Wallabies’ 49-3 win over Fiji in Canberra in June that forced him out of the remainder of the domestic Test season and Tri Nations Series.

The 25-year-old will again pack down in the starting front row alongside Brumbies teammate Stephen Moore and Waratahs loosehead prop Benn Robinson.

"It’s great to see Ben back after what’s been a pretty frustrating period for him," head coach Robbie Deans said.

"Having been injured in our first outing of the year, he’s had to sit and watch since, but he’s worked hard and he’s ready to go."

Lock Mark Chisholm, who was an unlikely tourist after suffering a knee injury, continues his partnership with Nathan Sharpe in the second row.

Captain Rocky Elsom and the Western Force duo of No.8 Ben McCalman and flanker David Pocock will again lead the charge in the Wallabies’ back row.

Mitchell, who scored two tries in the corresponding fixture in 2008, re-joins the side after straining his hamstring in the Wallabies’ 41-39 win over the Springboks in Bloemfontein.

The NSW Waratahs winger’s return reunites the backline from Australia’s two Tests in South Africa with Mitchell completing the back three of Wallabies’ Rookie of the Year, Kurtley Beale, and prolific winger James O’Connor.

"We’ve re-established the back three that did so well for us in South Africa during the year," Deans said. "Lachie did really well for us in Sydney (against the All Blacks) and he’s been rewarded with a place on the bench.

"From the team’s perspective, the combination that has been so effective throughout the year has now been re-established."

Australia team

Forwards: 1. Ben Robinson (NSW Waratahs); 2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies); 3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies); 4. Mark Chisholm (Brumbies); 5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force); 6. Rocky Elsom – captain (Brumbies); 7. David Pocock (Western Force); 8. Ben McCalman (Western Force)

Backs: 9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds); 10. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds); 11. Drew Mitchell (NSW Waratahs); 12. Matt Giteau (Brumbies); 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies); 14. James O’Connor (Western Force); 15. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs)

Reserves: 16. Saia Faingaa (Queensland Reds); 17. James Slipper (Queensland Reds); 18. Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs); 19. Richard Brown (Western Force); 20. Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs); 21. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs); 22. Lachie Turner (NSW Waratahs)