Rugby

Australia unchanged for second Test

Australia have named an unchanged team for this weekend's second Test against Wales, despite concerns over the fitness of tighthead prop Sekope Kepu.

 
Australia unchanged - RugbyReuters
 

Kepu strained a tendon in his forearm during the 27-19 victory over the Six Nations champions in the opening match of the three-match series in Brisbane last weekend but has been named in the starting line-up subject to a fitness test.

"We are hopeful that 'Keps' will be good to go, but we do have a contingency plan in place if we need it," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said.

"There are five props in the group we have with us in Melbourne so we saw no need in bringing anyone extra in."

Ben Alexander, who can play on both sides of the front row and is named as a replacement, is most likely to step into the breach should Kepu prove unable to play at the Docklands Stadium on Saturday night.

Berrick Barnes retains the number 10 shirt after a much-improved performance against the Welsh than he showed in last Tuesday's shock 9-6 defeat to Scotland in Newcastle.

Kurtley Beale, who along with fellow fly-half options Quade Cooper and James O'Connor missed last week's matches through injury, has not sufficiently recovered from his shoulder problem to be considered for selection for Saturday's second Test.

Although pleased with his side's improved performance at Lang Park, Deans said the victory would not have dented Welsh confidence that they can win a Test in Australia for the first time since 1969.

"That belief won't have been altered by last Saturday night," Deans says.

"If anything, that game - and more particularly the opportunities that they were able to create within in it - will only have hardened their resolve."

Team - 15-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14-Cooper Vuna, 13-Rob Horne, 12-Pat McCabe, 11-Digby Ioane, 10-Berrick Barnes, 9-Will Genia; 8-Wycliff Palu, 7-David Pocock (captain), 6-Scott Higginbotham, 5-Nathan Sharpe, 4-Rob Simmons, 3-Sekope Kepu, 2-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1-Benn Robinson.

Replacements: 16-Stephen Moore, 17-Ben Alexander, 18-Dave Dennis, 19-Michael Hooper, 20-Nic White, 21-Anthony Fainga'a, 22-Mike Harris.

Reuters
 
 
 
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