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Higginbotham back as Wallabies ring changes

MILAN (AFP) –

Australian flanker Scott Higginbotham joined the tour after lock Rob Simmons received an eight-week ban for a tip tackle

File picture. Australian flanker Scott Higginbotham will return from a two-match ban as part of a re-jigged line-up to face Italy this weekend, team officials announced. Higginbotham, one of four changes from the team that beat England last week, was initially left out of the touring party after his ban for kneeing and head-butting All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

Australian flanker Scott Higginbotham will return from a two-match ban as part of a re-jigged line-up to face Italy this weekend, team officials announced.

Higginbotham, one of four changes from the team that beat England last week, was initially left out of the touring party after his ban for kneeing and head-butting All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

However, he joined the tour after lock Rob Simmons received an eight-week ban for a tip tackle during Australia’s heavy defeat to France on November 10.

Western Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan will make his first Test start — six years after his debut — in Florence on Saturday.

Drew Mitchell will start on the left wing instead of Digby Ioane, who drops to the bench, while Stephen Moore replaces Tatafu Polota Nau as the run-on hooker.

Robbie Deans’ Australia lost 33-6 to France in the first match of their tour, but they hit back strongly to beat their old enemies England 14-20 at Twickenham last week.

Australia (15-1)

Berrick Barnes; Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell; Kurtley Beale, Brett Sheehan; Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Higginbotham; Nathan Sharpe, Sitaleki Timani; Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson

Replacements: Tatafu Polota Nau, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Dave Dennis, Liam Gill, Nick Phipps, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane

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