x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mortlock recalled for All Blacks clash

Australia recall their captain and the experienced flanker Phil Waugh for the Tri Nations test against New Zealand.

Stirling Mortlock will return to action for Australia on Saturday against New Zealand.
Stirling Mortlock will return to action for Australia on Saturday against New Zealand.

AUCKLAND // Australia have recalled their captain Stirling Mortlock and the experienced flanker Phil Waugh for Saturday's Tri Nations test against New Zealand. Mortlock has recovered from concussion and will replace Ryan Cross at outside centre, with Waugh coming in for the injured Rocky Elsom. Waugh's selection means the Wallabies will field two openside flankers for the first time under their new coach Robbie Deans.

Of the new faces in his side, Deans said: "They're two quality players. It is good to get both of them on the ground." Cross will start on the replacements' bench instead of Timana Tahu, who made his Wallabies debut in last Saturday's 34-19 win over New Zealand in Sydney. The All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been elevated to his side's starting line-up. McCaw, who injured his ankle against England last month, returns to a side in crisis after losing their last two games.

The selectors have named three scrum-halves, bringing in Piri Weepu to be bracketed with Andy Ellis and Jimmy Cowan, who both sustained injuries in Sydney. Leon MacDonald was named at fullback with Mils Muliaina shifting to the wing in place of the dropped Anthony Tuitivake. Conrad Smith replaced Richard Kahui at centre, while Andrew Hore and Keven Mealamu were both named at hooker and replacement loose forward Sione Lauaki has been dropped following his error-ridden performance against the Wallabies.

"We've made some tactical changes in our selections," the New Zealand coach Graham Henry said. "But we also need to change how we play. Clearly there are areas we need to improve on from Sydney. We have to have the right game plan and execution." * Reuters