Rugby Union


Wallabies look at speed to burn Boks

DOM SHIPPERLEY is in line to play his first Test match and Kurtley Beale is expected to return to the Wallabies' fullback position for Saturday night's Test against the Springboks in Perth.

Due to the unavailability of Drew Mitchell, who damaged his ankle in the Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland, a wing spot for the Rugby Championship match is vacant, and the Australian selectors are toying with introducing outright speed.

The Wallabies will name their team this afternoon, making yesterday's training session in Perth important in working out if there would be dramatic changes to the side that was humiliated 22-0 by the All Blacks at Eden Park.

When the Wallabies squad were involved in an opposed session, Beale was sighted at fullback, with Shipperley on one wing and Digby Ioane the other. Adam Ashley-Cooper, one of the Wallabies' most spirited players in Auckland, had been transferred from fullback to outside centre. The only change to the pack was Radike Samo running at No.8 instead of Scott Higginbotham.

The anticipated introduction of Shipperley to the Test line-up would not be a complete surprise, as during the Queensland Reds' Super Rugby season he showed that he was as good a finisher in any Australian team.

The 21-year-old boasts exceptional pace, and if given space has the ability to embarrass any opposition defender. Considering that the Wallabies have been criticised recently for their lack of finishers, and defensive strategies, the inclusion of an attacking talent like Shipperley has to be applauded.


Shipperley is a former Australian Schools, Australian Sevens and Australian under-20s representative, who hails from Brisbane's Nudgee College.

While centre Rob Horne suffered from a head knock in the Auckland Test, he trained in Perth and is available for selection. If Ashley-Cooper takes his midfield spot, it will be yet another international season where the Waratah finds himself in virtually a new position every Test.

Meanwhile, veteran second-rower Nathan Sharpe is confident small adjustments will make a big difference to the Wallabies.

''It's motivation,'' Sharpe said of his team's last-start loss to New Zealand in Auckland, which followed a 27-19 defeat by the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium.

''The guys are all proud Australians and we want to make sure that the next time we take to the track we get a victory.

''There's plenty for us to do in terms of getting things right on the field, but minor adjustments will see a big difference.''

The Springboks beat competition newcomers Argentina 27-6 in Cape Town, but they could only scrape a fortuitous 16-16 draw in Mendoza and are under pressure at home as they attempt to stop a four-match losing streak against the Wallabies.

''This is very much a new Springboks side with a new coach and all the rest of it,'' Sharpe said.

''The one thing they will bring is that national pride and they will be strong up front and on the back of that they've got very good tactical kicking skills.''

Likely Wallabies line-up: Kurtley Beale; Dom Shipperley, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Digby Ioane; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Radike Samo, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Nathan Sharpe, Sitaleki Timani, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson.

with AAP