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Barnes rested for Wallabies
John Connolly wraps his stars in cotton wool for match against Canada.
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2007 13:46 GMT

Berrick Barnes (c) is already an integral part of the Wallabies backline [GALLO/GETTY]

Australian coach John Connelly has made 11 changes to his starting lineup for the Wallabies final group match against Canada including the withdrawal of flyhalf Berrick Barnes to rest him for the quarterfinals.
 
With 102-test veteran Stephen Larkham unavailable until the semifinals, Connolly decided to be extra cautious with Barnes.
The 21-year-old Rugby League convert has confirmed his position as the heir apparent to Larkham, who retires at the end of the World Cup, with dominant displays against Canada and Fiji.
 
"Obviously Stephen Larkham's injury throws a spanner in the works," Connolly said.

"It made the decision easy on whether or not to play Berrick against Canada, we decided not to."

Huxley given chance

Julian Huxley, who regularly plays at fullback, will get his first starting role at the World Cup as the pivot at Bordeaux on Saturday in a new halves pairing with Sam Cordingley.

The forward pack has been rotated, with captain George Smith and vice captain Nathan Sharpe the only two test starting regulars.

Both were rested against Fiji.

"Having won the pool we have a great opportunity to rest a few players and give some of the other squad members some exposure to the World Cup," Connolly said.

"We've already experienced injuries on this tour and providing some more game time for players outside of the regular 22 will stand us in good stead if we need to call on them later in the tournament."

Explosive energy

Sharpe, who played in Australia's record 142-0 win over Namibia at the last World Cup, said he expected a lot of energy from players wanting to prove themselves against Canada.

"There might be a little bit of rust, but that'll be offset by a lot of explosive energy," Sharpe said.

Wingers Lote Tuqiri and Drew Mitchell, along with Adam Ashley-Cooper, are the only survivors from last week's starting XV, with Cameron Shepherd coming in at fullback.

George Gregan, the 136-test veteran and scrumhalf, and seasoned fullback Chris Latham are the only two backs on the seven-man bench.

The new frontrow features Greg Holmes, starting his first test since 2006, Adam Frier and Al Baxter, who will win his 50th test cap for Australia, just one behind an Australian record for props.

In the second row, Sharpe returns to partner Mark Chisholm, the only forward to have started against Fiji.

Perfect record

Australia has won all five of its previous Tests against Canada.

Australia is 5-0 against Canada, including a 74-9 win in the last head-to-head in 1996.

In their only World Cup encounter, the Wallabies won 27-11 in South Africa in '95.

Lineup: Cameron Shepherd, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Scott Staniforth, Lote Tuqiri, Julian Huxley, Sam Cordingley; Greg Holmes, Adam Freier, Al Baxter, Nathan Sharpe, Mark Chisholm, Hugh McMeniman, George Smith (captain), David Lyons.

Replacements: Sean Hardman, Guy Shepherdson, Rocky Elsom, Phil Waugh, Stephen Hoiles, George Gregan, Chris Latham.

Source:
Agencies
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