June International Tours

PNC Preview – Junior All Blacks v Australia A


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Australia ‘A’ coach Laurie Fisher has made nine changes to his team, while the Junior All Blacks’ squad shows some injury-enforced changes ahead of the two teams’ decisive International Rugby Board (IRB) Pacific Nations Cup showdown at Carisbrook in Dunedin on Saturday.

Both Australia ‘A’ and the Junior All Blacks, the defending champions, are unbeaten in the Pacific Nations Cup Series to date. The Kiwis head the standings after collecting a full-house in all three their matches, but the Australians can win the title by beating the Junior All Blacks in Dunedin.

The introduction of Waratahs and Wallabies fly-half Sam Norton-Knight is one of the nine changes to the Australian ‘A’ team which defeated Japan 71-10 in Townsville last Saturday.

Reds utility back Clinton Schifcofske has been ruled out of this weekend’s Australia ‘A’ line-up through injury.

“Clinton has been traveling with a calf strain and it has not improved,” Fisher said.

“That means Lachie Turner [Waratahs] will come onto the bench,” he said.

The Australia ‘A’ squad also welcomes into the starting line-up Reds and Wallabies prop Rodney Blake, who has recovered after ankle surgery and Reds and Wallabies lock/flank Hugh McMeniman, also back from injury.

Try-scorer for the Wallabies in his debut Test against Wales, Digby Ioane has been named on the wing.

He will be partnered on the wing by Western Force teammate Cameron Shepherd, who also returns from the Wallabies squad.

“With Digby and Cameron in the line-up we will have no shortage of pace out wide, and with Rodney and Hugh back on the paddock there is no shortage of grunt up front,” Fisher added.

Meanwhile the All Blacks call-up of Ross Filipo, Rico Gear and Greg Rawlinson forced changes to the Junior All Blacks squad.

Counties Manukau lock Kristian Ormsby has joined the squad in Dunedin, while Tom Donnelly, who originally joined the squad as replacement for injured lock Hoani MacDonald, will remain with the squad.

Corey Flynn, who missed the first three Pacific Nations Cup matches against Samoa, Fiji and Tonga because of parental leave, has returned to the squad.

Ma’a Nonu has also rejoined the Junior All Blacks from the senior national team.

Tane Tu’ipulotu also remains with the Junior All Blacks as replacement for Rico Gear.

Sione Lauaki, who has recovered from knee surgery, has also joined the squad.

The Junior All Black starting XV for Saturday is yet to be confirmed.


Junior All Blacks: TBC

Australia A: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Cameron Shepherd, 13 Junior Pelesasa, 12 Ryan Cross, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Josh Holmes, 8 David Lyons, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Hugh McMeniman, 5 James Horwill, 4 Alister Campbell (c), 3 Rodney Blake, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Sean Hardman, 17 Troy Takiari, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Jone Tawake, 20 Josh Valentine, 21 Gene Fairbanks, 22 Lachlan Turner.

Date: Saturday, 16 June
Venue: Carisbrook, Dunedin
Kick-off: 14.30 (02.30 GMT)
Referee: Willie Roos (South Africa)
Touch judges: Julian Pritchard (Australia), Fa’aleaoga Lemauai (Fiji)


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