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Mitchell expected to replace Ioane for Italy Test

Drew Mitchell (R) is set for a call up against Italy.

Drew Mitchell (R) is set for a call up against Italy. Photo: AFP

Florence: Drew Mitchell is expected to make his second start for the Wallabies since injuring his hamstring in the Rugby World Cup 13 months ago.

The Waratahs winger ran with the starting side during training in Florence on Tuesday and is expected to replace Digby Ioane in Australia's Test against Italy on Saturday.

Ioane and Nick Cummins will fight it out for the remaining wing spot after both ran there at training. Cummins is working with a slight quadriceps strain while Ioane is being eased back from a knee injury after making his return at Twickenham last weekend.

It has been a long and tortuous road back to the Wallabies first XV for Brisbane-born Mitchell, who endured two years interrupted by injury and was considered just a 25 per cent chance of being able to play rugby again a few months ago.

He is one of four changes coach Robbie Deans is expected to make to the side that beat England.

Brett Sheehan appears to be the choice for the starting halfback role, in place of Nick Phipps; Stephen Moore is likely to start at hooker in place of Tatafu Polota-Nau and Scott Higginbotham is expected to start in the back row after serving a two-Test ban for head butting and kneeing Richie McCaw in Brisbane last month.

Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe sat out of training on Tuesday, as did flanker Michael Hooper, after the pair pulled up somewhat battered from the weekend Test.

Liam Gill ran with the starting side in place of Hooper and David Pocock, who is still battling a calf strain, but both Sharpe and Hooper are expected to be fit to play Italy.

The side remained unchanged elsewhere. Ben Alexander is expected to reprise his role as tight head prop in the front row, while the back line combination used against England is expected to be named again.

Ben Tapuai will start again at inside centre, Adam Ashley-Cooper will play outside him, Nick Cummins is expected to partner Mitchell on the wing, Kurtley Beale will remain in the No.10 jersey and Berrick Barnes will start again at fullback.

Mitchell, who played against Italy on the same tour two years ago, said he was excited to be facing Italy on Saturday.

"Coming off the back of a pretty good win against England at Twickenham, the boys are pretty upbeat," he said.

"One thing we focused on since that game is we probably haven't shown the ability to put back-to-back games together that we can walk away and be proud of.

"Italy pose a pretty big challenge this weekend, so it's pretty exciting to be involved in that kind of preparation going into this week's game."

Likely Wallabies team (15-1): Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins/Digby Ioane, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Brett Sheehan, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Sitaleki Timani, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Stats
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs WAL 0 02:00Twic
NZL 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs ARG 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 0vs SCO 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 3 0 3 0 -96 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 3 0 3 0 -59 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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