Robbie Deans
Robbie Deans

Wallabies coach makes changes to spread work load

WALLABIES coach Robbie Deans has made four changes from last week's win over England in the side to face Italy tomorrow night in Florence.

Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan will start his seventh Test match six years after playing in his debut.

Sheehan will replace Rebels halfback Nick Phipps, who drops to the bench.

In other changes to the starting XV from last week, Drew Mitchell replaces Digby Ioane, with the latter among the reserves.

Blindside flanker Scott Higginbotham makes his comeback from a two-game suspension, while hooker Stephen Moore makes his first start since the second Bledisloe Cup back in August.

He takes over from Tatafu Polota-Nau who will again be among the substitutes.

Deans said the changes were designed to spread the work load during a tough tour and said there was plenty of experience to call on.

"If you look at the men who are coming in, they are all seasoned Test players," he said.

"Drew (Mitchell) is one of the most experienced Test wingers in Australian history, Stephen Moore is our most capped hooker, while Scott (Higginbotham) was the Test incumbent in his position until the suspension.

"No one should doubt the impact that Brett Sheehan has made since he has joined the squad either.

"Nick (Phipps) did well last weekend against England and he is still in a position to contribute this weekend, but Brett has worked hard and has earned this opportunity."

Wallabies: Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Brett Sheehan, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe (captain), Sitaleki Timani, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson; Reserves: Tatafu Polota Nau, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Dave Dennis, Liam Gill, Nick Phipps, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane.



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