Rob Simmons back from injury for Australia for their clash with Italy

Last Updated: 07/11/13 10:33am

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Rob Simmons: Back from injury to take on Italy in Rome

Rob Simmons: Back from injury to take on Italy in Rome

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The return of Rob Simmons at blindside is the only change to the Australia starting XV for their Test clash with Italy on Saturday.

Simmons missed the 20-13 defeat by England last weekend with a knee injury but is available to return in place of Scott Fardy, who is ruled out after suffering a head injury at Twickenham.

There are three more changes on the bench with back-rowers Dave Dennis and Liam Gill, along with winger Joe Tomane, called up after missing out on Ewan McKenzie's 22 against England.

"Having Simmo return will benefit us in that regard. He's instrumental in us winning our own ball while we'll be looking for him to put pressure on their lineout, and their scrum."
McKenzie on Simmons

McKenzie feels Simmons' inclusion will suit the style of play they are going to come up against at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Strength

"Most of the Italian's strength is derived through their forwards and that's where they will look to take us on, especially at set-piece. We have to take them on up front," McKenzie said.

"Having Simmo return will benefit us in that regard. He's instrumental in us winning our own ball while we'll be looking for him to put pressure on their lineout, and their scrum.

"Aside from that, he is one of our most athletic and powerful forwards. He has trained very well at blindside flanker and it will be interesting to see how he goes with a bit more space.

"However, no matter what position he is in, he'll continue to bring his abrasive style. Currently, he sits in the top two for us in terms of the volume of tackles and also his tackle completions."

Australia: Folau (NSW Waratahs), Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs), Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies), Toomua (ACT Brumbies), Cummins (Western Force), Cooper (Queensland Reds), Genia (Queensland Reds); Slipper (Queensland Reds), Moore (ACT Brumbies), Alexander (ACT Brumbies), Timani (NSW Waratahs), Horwill (Queensland Reds), Simmons (Queensland Reds), Hooper (NSW Waratahs), Mowen (ACT Brumbies, capt).

Replacements: Fainga'a (Queensland Reds), Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Kepu (NSW Waratahs), Dennis (NSW Waratahs), Gill (Queensland Reds), White (ACT Brumbies), Leali'ifano (ACT Brumbies), Tomane (ACT Brumbies)

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