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Beale starts at 10 for Wallabies against All Blacks

Kurtley Beale starts at 10 with Bernard Foley on the replacements bench

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Article Published: Wednesday 13 August 2014|

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has named his team for the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opening match against New Zealand's All Blacks with Kurtley Beale starting at flyhalf.

Coach McKenzie says that he has revamped the team that played against France in the June Internationals due to injuries, the style of play the Wallabies want to adopt and due to individual form.

Twenty-five-year-old Beale's selection at flyhalf is his first start for the Wallabies in 2014 as he was on the replacements bench in the series against France.

Beale's Waratahs backline team mate Adam Ashley-Cooper has also earned a start in the number 13 jersey while there is a new wing partnership with Rob Horne and Pat McCabe joining fullback Israel Folau to form a strong back-three.

The two remaining changes in the starting XV see hooker Nathan Charles replace the injured Tatafu Polota-Nau and the return at lock of Sam Carter, who earned his international debut in the opening Test against France in June before an ankle injury ruled him out of the remainder of the series.

"There were a number of extremely tough selection decisions, especially after the way the team performed against France, however we're confident we've come up with the best squad possible to win on Saturday night," McKenzie said.

"In the end, we've got a very similar group of players to those who got the job done against France, we've just modified some roles slightly to suit how we want to play the game."

McKenzie said the selection at flyhalf was one of the toughest to make.

"Bernard hasn't put a foot wrong since we chose him in June, but Kurtley has really stepped up his game over the past few months and he's consistently been one of the Waratahs best players every week," he said.

"He'll bring some additional x-factor to our game. We feel that will suit our two-playmaker framework and ensure we have the right balance in those positions along with Matt Toomua.

"Kurtley's also an experienced guy who has played 42 Tests, so he will enjoy the added responsibility of wearing the number 10 jersey.

"He's got a proven track record at the position at a provincial and Test level, and he has been involved in a number of important wins at flyhalf for Australia over the years.

"Shifting Adam from the wing to the centres has been for much the same reason - he's been in outstanding form for the Waratahs and was a real point of difference for them at the back-end of the Super Rugby season.

"Adam's never let Australia down no matter what position he plays and we know he'll enjoy the move to a position where he has had a lot of experience at during his career."

McKenzie has announced an extended nine-man bench, with one player to be omitted closer to gameday.

"I've always been a big advocate of ‘starters' and ‘finishers' and I'm confident we have guys on the bench who can come into the game and make an impact," McKenzie said.

"A lot of tries are scored in those final 20 minutes and we've seen over the years just how clinical the All Blacks can be at that stage of the game. We need guys who can withstand the pressure in those moments and also create opportunities for us as well.

"We'll consider our options as we progress throughout the week before finalising our bench later in the week."

Meanwhile, Queensland Reds hooker Saia Fainga'a joined the Qantas Wallabies squad on Monday, replacing hooker Tolu Latu, who suffered a broken arm in club Rugby on Saturday.


1. James Slipper (vc) , 2. Nathan Charles , 3. Sekope Kepu , 4. Sam Carter , 5. Rob Simmons , 6. Scott Fardy , 7. Michael Hooper (c) , 8. Wycliff Palu , 9. Nic White , 10. Kurtley Beale , 11. Rob Horne , 12. Matt Toomua , 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc) , 14. Pat McCabe , 15. Israel Folau

Replacements : James Hanson , Pek Cowan , Ben Alexander , Will Skelton , Ben McCalman , Scott Higginbotham , Nick Phipps , Bernard Foley , Tevita Kuridrani

*one player to be omitted

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