South African Rugby

Friday, September 02, 2005

Come on Australia

Wallaby captain and scrum-half George Gregan will equal England prop Jason Leonard's record of 114 Test caps for his country and link up with Mat Rogers at fly-half, when he leads Australia onto Eden Park in Saturday's final Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand.

Joining Jason: Gregan dons the gold jersey for the 114th time

Gregan will lead a side with five personnel changes, including three debutants in Alex Kanaar, Lachlan MacKay and Lloyd Johansson, as well five positional changes to the staring lineup from the last Test against South Africa in Perth.

In the second row, Mark Chisholm joins one of two vice captains Nathan Sharpe, in the absence of the injured Daniel Vickerman, with Kanaar coming into the reserves, while George Smith will start at No.8, linking up with Phil Waugh and Rocky Elsom in the back row and John Roe returning to the bench.

With Rogers starting at fly-half for the first time, newly named vice captain, Morgan Turinui will start at inside centre, with Clyde Rathbone at outside and Lote Tuqiri, Mark Gerrard and Drew Mitchell making up the back three.

Reserve inside back Lachlan MacKay has been selected in the Wallaby 22 for the first time, as well as utility back Lloyd Johansson, while hooker Adam Freier has been named in the Test team for the first time this year.

Wallaby coach Eddie Jones says with four new players, and blokes in new positions the enthusiasm at training has been fantastic.

"The blokes have worked really hard over the last five days and have come together well," said Jones.

"There's been plenty of enthusiasm and add that to George [Gregan] equaling Leonard's record and you have a pretty good combination of experience and youth."

With regular No.10s Stephen Larkham, Matt Giteau and Elton Flatley all unavailable due to injury, Jones says Rogers is the right player to start at fly-half.

"It was a tough decision between Matty Rogers and Lachie MacKay at fly-half, but we believe Mat has the passing and kicking skills we need to start the game, and he can also take the ball to the line," said Jones.

"Lachie and Lloyd Johansson have both worked hard since joining the squad in camp last week and are ready to play Test rugby."

The Wallabies will depart Coffs Harbour for Auckland on Thursday, and will finalise preparations for Saturday's Test with a training run at Eden Park on Friday.

Australia: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Clyde Rathbone, 12 Morgan Turinui (vice-captain), 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Mat Rogers, 9 George Gregan (captain), 8 George Smith, 7 Phil Waugh, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Nathan Sharpe (vice-captain), 4 Mark Chisholm, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Brendan Cannon, 1 Bill Young.
Replacements: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Alex Kanaar, 19 John Roe, 20 Chris Whitaker, 21 Lachlan MacKay, 22 Lloyd Johansson

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