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Cummins, Tapuai plug latest gaps in Test team

Date

Greg Growden

Ben Tapuai ... returning to the Wallabies team.

Ben Tapuai ... returning to the Wallabies team. Photo: Getty Images

ROSARIO: The Wallabies merry-go-round continues to spin with two more newcomers - Nick Cummins and Ben Tapuai - joining the Test team, taking the tally of players who have appeared in the green and gold this season to 38.

Winger Cummins and centre Tapuai will play against Argentina on Saturday night as the Wallabies selectors have been forced to revamp their back line once again due to another week of major injury losses. It will be Cummins's first Test cap, while Tapuai played against Wales in Cardiff during last year's end-of-season European tour.

Tapuai takes over at outside centre from Adam Ashley-Cooper, who returned to Sydney after being knocked out during the Pretoria Test loss, while Cummins replaces Dom Shipperley on the wing.

Nick Cummins.

Nick Cummins. Photo: Getty Images

The Wallabies have been eager to use Tapuai for some time, but the Reds midfielder has had his injury concerns, while selectors have been impressed with Cummins's enthusiasm this season. Although Cummins's ball skills can be haphazard, it is impossible to fault the eagerness of the Force utility. He is known as ''The Honey Badger'' for his keenness to make an impact in attack.

There could be further alterations as the selectors are sticking with Digby Ioane on the other wing, although he has problems with his kneecap. Ioane will have to be monitored until game day, although he is adamant he will be available.

Ioane said yesterday he was desperate to play against the Pumas to redeem himself for what he believed was an unacceptable performance in Pretoria.

''I'm still hurting from the South African Test, as are a lot of the guys,'' he said. ''I learnt a lot from that game. I was trying to be a hero. I got knocked out in the first half and tried to keep playing. That really rattled me during the second half.

''I'm upset about the weekend because I couldn't do the things I normally do. I know as a player I can offer a lot more.''

Up front, the Wallabies have gone for all-out bulk by including Sitaleki Timani as the blindside flanker for Dave Dennis, while James Slipper will start as the loose-head prop ahead of Benn Robinson.

The Wallabies have delayed announcing the Test line-up because they want to ensure everyone had overcome the gruelling loss in Pretoria, where there was a succession of major injuries, followed by a day's travel to the centre of Argentina.

The squad is bound to be listed in pencil until kick-off, especially as the team has grown accustomed to losing players during warm-ups, such as Scott Higginbotham before the Springboks Test.

Then again, the selectors have also become used to juggling players all season. While the All Blacks have been relatively stable in their selections this year, with their only major injury loss being Daniel Carter, the Wallabies have been forced to delve into their second XV and even third XV ranks for players.

While Mike Harris will be the fifth fullback used this season, following Luke Morahan, Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale and Berrick Barnes, the midfield has also undergone constant change as key players have disappeared through injury. Overall 19 different back-line players have played a Test this season, while some of their most important attackers, such as James O'Connor, have yet to be sighted with the Wallabies in 2012.

The only two players who have appeared in the same position in each of the 10 Tests are captain Nathan Sharpe and Ioane.

Harris will take over as the team's goalkicker on Saturday.

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
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
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 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 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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