Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | International Rugby

Deans to start with Sheehan against Italy



Australia coach Robbie Deans has given scrumhalf Brett Sheehan a first test start against Italy in Florence on Saturday in one of four changes to the side that beat England last week.

Sheehan, who made his international debut six years ago, replaces Nick Phipps in the No 9 shirt, while Scott Higginbotham returns at blindside flanker and Drew Mitchell replaces Digby Ioane on the wing.

Hooker Stephen Moore returns to the starting line-up in place of Tatafu Polota Nau, joining props Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson in a front row that held up well in the 20-14 win over England but is sure to be tested to the limits by Italy.

Higginbotham was left out of the original tour party after being banned for two games for headbutting Richie McCaw in last month's 18-18 draw with the All Blacks in Brisbane.

He was called over to join the squad when lock Rob Simmons was handed an eight-week suspension for a tip tackle on French flanker Yannick Nyanga in Australia's 33-6 loss in Paris.

Deans said blindside flanker Dave Dennis, Ioane, Polota Nau and Phipps - who all drop to the bench - had played lots of rugby this year and the side should not be viewed as weakened in any way.

"It's quite the reverse," he said in a news release. "If you look at the men who are coming in, they are all seasoned test players.

"Drew is one of the most experienced test wingers in Australian history, Stephen Moore is our most capped hooker, while Scott was the test incumbent in his position until the suspension.

"No one should doubt the impact that Brett Sheehan has made since he has joined the squad either.

"Nick did well last weekend against England and he is still in a position to contribute this weekend but Brett has worked hard and has earned this opportunity."

Australia have never lost to Italy and beat them comfortably at the World Cup last year on the back of a strong second-half performance.

Australia team:15-Berrick Barnes, 14-Nick Cummins, 13-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12-Ben Tapuai, 11-Drew Mitchell, 10-Kurtley Beale, 9- Brett Sheehan; 8-Wycliff Palu, 7-Michael Hooper, 6-Scott Higginbotham, 5-Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4-Sitaleki Timani, 3-Ben Alexander, 2-Stephen Moore, 1-Benn Robinson.

Replacements: 16-Tatafu Polota Nau, 17-James Slipper, 18-Sekope Kepu, 19-Dave Dennis, 20-Liam Gill, 21-Nick Phipps, 22-Mike Harris, 23-Digby Ioane.

Shop

SA rugby Annual 2014
The 2014 SA Rugby Annual is the official record of the South African season and is widely considered to be one of the finest yearbooks in world rugby
R175.00
Victor - My Journey
As the most capped Springbok ever, Victor Matfield is a national hero who transcends rugby provincialism and has fans across the world
R198.44
The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R157.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R110.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Football's Greatest Ii - Luis Figo
Athletics - Day 4 - Session 2
Diving - Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard Final
Gymnastics - Artistic: Women's Individual All-Around Final

Sports Talk



Brendan Venter
The art of execution
With the reality of an all-Australasian Super Rugby final scheduled for Saturday, I believe now is...

Tony Johnson
Winning means rising above adversity
Winning a big rugby tournament is usually about the ability of a team to produce its best in the...

Brenden Nel
Time for Sevens to up the ante
Sunday night’s amazing Commonwealth Games win by the South African Sevens team has only served to...

Gavin Rich
A flawed plan
A third-place finish, a semifinal exit and the South African conference title may, to some, be fair...

Super Wrap
It's a Wrap, and a Super one at that
Only one side in a six-team playoff series and the rest of our teams comfortably in the bottom half...