British and Irish Lions tour: Australia name James O'Connor at fly-half for first Test

Last Updated: 20/06/13 12:52am

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James O'Connor named at fly-half for Australia in the first Test

James O'Connor named at fly-half for Australia in the first Test

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Australia have named James O'Connor at fly-half for Saturday's opening Test against the British and Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium with Kurtley Beale included on the bench.

Coach Robbie Deans' starting XV also features three debutants in Israel Folau, flanker Ben Mowen and inside centre Christian Lealiifano.

With Beale deemed not ready to start following his return from alcohol-related problems, Deans has opted for O'Connor at fly-half with Berrick Barnes taking the number 15 jersey.

It will be only the second time O'Connor has played a Test at 10, with his only other appearance in that position coming against Wales in 2011.

Folau is competing in his first season in professional rugby union at full-back with the New South Wales Waratahs, having already represented Australia at rugby league and played in the AFL, but will play on the wing against the Lions.

Lealiifano has won the vote ahead of Pat McCabe for the No 12 jersey, while Mowen joins Michael Hooper and fit-again number eight Wycliff Palu in the back row.

Australia starting XV:

15. B Barnes (NSW Waratahs) 14. I Folau (NSW Waratahs) 13. A Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs) 12. C Leali'ifano (Brumbies) 11. D Ioane (Queensland Reds) 10. J O'Connor (Melbourne Rebels) 9. W Genia (Queensland Reds) 8. W Palu (NSW Waratahs) 7. M Hooper (NSW Waratahs) 6. B Mowen (Brumbies) 5. J Horwill (Queensland Reds, captain) 4. K Douglas (NSW Waratahs) 3. B Alexander (Brumbies) 2. S Moore (Brumbies) 1. B Robinson (NSW Waratahs)

Replacements: 16. S Fainga'a (Queensland Reds) 17. J Slipper (Queensland Reds) 18. S Kepu (NSW Waratahs) 19. R Simmons (Queensland Reds) 20. L Gill (Queensland Reds) 21. N Phipps (Melbourne Rebels) 22. P McCabe (Brumbies) 23. K Beale (Melbourne Rebels)

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