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Ioane back as Wallabies make changes for England

LONDON (AFP) –

Digby Ioane

Australia recalled right wing Digby Ioane, seen here in 2011, to their side for the Cook Cup international against England at Twickenham on Saturday in one of four changes to the side thrashed 33-6 by France.

Australia recalled right wing Digby Ioane to their side for the Cook Cup international against England at Twickenham on Saturday in one of four changes to the side thrashed 33-6 by France.

Ioane, who has missed the Wallabies last two Tests with a knee injury, replaced Pat McCabe, out with a neck problem.

Berrick Barnes is selected a full-back after coming off the bench against France in Paris last weekend.

The Wallabies were hammered in the scrum by France but England, who’ve enjoyed their fair share of set-piece success against Australia in recent years, will face a front row bolstered by the return of experienced tighthead prop Ben Alexander.

A wrist injury has prevented Alexander from playing since last month’s 25-19 win over Argentina at Rosario, which sealed second place in the Rugby Championship.

Meanwhile Sitaleki Timani returns to the second row after missing the France match with a back problem.

Timani and Alexander replace Kane Douglas, ruled out with a knee injury, and Sekope Kepu respectively.

Australia had hoped to recall world-class flanker David Pocock for Saturday’s match following a knee problem, only for a calf strain to rule him out of the Test instead.

The talented Michael Hooper continues at seven in his absence, with Kurtley Beale continuing at fly-half.

“There aren’t too many challenges in Test rugby that are greater than playing England at Twickenham,” said under-pressure Australia coach Robbie Deans.

“We are playing an England side that has been building up under its new leadership, and will see Saturday as the chance to lay down a marker for the future,” the New Zealander added.

“They will be excited by the opportunities they saw out of our performance last weekend.

“But it goes both ways — Saturday is a significant opportunity for us as a group as well.

“It’s going to be a great occasion, and one that the whole group is looking forward to.”

Australia (15-1)

Berrick Barnes; Digby Ioane, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Nick Cummins; Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps; Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis; Nathan Sharpe (capt), Sitaleki Timani; Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson

Replacements: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Radike Samo, Liam Gill, Brett Sheehan, Mike Harris, Drew Mitchell.

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