WALLABIES COACH Robbie Deans has made eight changes for Saturday’s opening Test match against Wales at Suncorp Stadium.
Five new forwards and three backs have been rushed into the line-up following Australia’s embarrassing 9-6 defeat in Newcastle on Tuesday.
The all-NSW front-row of Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson will start the match, with second-rower Rob Simmons and No 8 Wycliff Palu also returning to the starting XV.
Scott Higginbotham moves from No 8 to blindside flanker to accommodate Palu’s inclusion. Deans has also re-shuffled his backline, including Adam Ashley-Cooper at fullback and partnering Rob Horne and Pat McCabe in the centres.
Brumbies halfback Nic White has been named on the bench and will become the 860th Wallaby if given a run. Deans was always going to make changes regardless of the Scotland result, but it’s clear a number of players played their way out of the team with poor performances.
Wales are the reigning Grand Slam champions and will present much stiffer opposition than Scotland. The Wallabies beat Wales 24-18 in Cardiff in December and have won eight of the nine Tests played in Australia. The Welsh tasted their sole success on their inaugural visit in 1969, winning 19-16 in Sydney.
The Brisbane match is the first in a three-Test series.