Brett Sheehan will make his first start for Australia in Saturday's Test against Italy

Last Updated: 22/11/12 8:30am

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Brett Sheehan: Will make his first start for Australia

Brett Sheehan: Will make his first start for Australia

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Australia have handed a first Test start to Western Force veteran Brett Sheehan for Saturday's clash with Italy in Florence.

The 33-year-old scrum-half has made six previous appearances off of the bench for the Wallabies, however, he replaces Nick Phipps in the No 9 shirt as one of a four of changes.

Drew Mitchell, Scott Higginbotham and Stephen Moore also come into the starting XV, with Phipps, Digby Ioane, Dave Dennis and Tatafu Polota Nau all dropping to the bench.

Australia coach Robbie Deans said: "If you look at the men who are coming in, they are all seasoned Test players.

"Drew is one of the most experienced Test wingers in Australian history; Stephen Moore is our most capped hooker, while Scott was the Test incumbent in his position until the suspension.

"No one should doubt the impact that Brett Sheehan has made since he has joined the squad either. Nick did well last weekend against England and he is still in a position to contribute this weekend but Brett has worked hard and has earned this opportunity."

Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements:16 Tatafu Polota Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Digby Ioane

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