Sharpe to captain Wallabies against Los Pumas

Last updated 12:08 11/09/2012
Nathan Sharpe
Reuters

CAPTAIN: Nathan Sharpe will replace Will Genia as Wallabies captain this weekend.

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Kurtley Beale has been dropped to the bench for the Wallabies test against Argentina on Saturday.

Berrick Barnes will move from inside centre to fullback, with Nathan Sharpe to captain the team.

As expected, Nick Phipps takes over the halfback role after the injury to Will Genia and Kane Douglas will make his debut in the second row in the test at Skilled Park.

Sharpe led the Wallabies in tests in 2004 versus New Zealand and 2005 against Samoa, and on Saturday night plays his 109th test, but the first in his home town.

"It's rare when you have played at this level for as long as I have to come across something totally new, but to play a test in my home town is something I would never have imagined happening when I started," Sharpe said.

"To have the privilege of leading Australia in the first ever test to be played on the Gold Coast is an experience I will always treasure. But the memory is down the track. For now, it's important we keep our focus as a team, build on what we achieved last weekend in Perth, and add to that momentum. No one else in the squad has played Argentina before but I have and they will be tough, incredibly passionate and uncompromising."

Sharpe will have a new second row partner after a hamstring injury ruled out Sitaleki Timani, with his NSW Waratahs team-mate Douglas taking his place.

"Kane has been with us a fair while now, has worked hard and provides us with a similar set-piece presence as Sita [Timani] does," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said.

"He's a big man so he will help anchor the scrum on the tight head side in a similar way to how Sita has. Kane also has the benefit of plenty of recent match play under his belt in club rugby, which will help make his introduction to Test rugby a little easier."

Phipps steps up for what will be his fifth test appearance, but just his second starting role.

The absence of Genia, sees Western Force halfback Brett Sheehan return to the squad after a three-year absence.

Barnes has been moved from inside centre to fullback, to accommodate the return of regular inside centre Pat McCabe from a stress fracture in his foot. McCabe played 30 minutes in the Canberra grand final last weekend.

"Berrick has good grounding at the back while his ability to take just about every point-scoring opportunity on offer [with his goal-kicking] was highlighted once again last weekend," Deans said.

"His presence provides good balance to the backline, while giving us the opportunity to throw Kurtley in where he will be at his most dangerous, against a tiring defensive line as the game opens up and he can get out there with a license to play."

AUSTRALIA: Berrick Barnes, Dom Shipperley, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Nick Phipps, Radike Samo, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Nathan Sharpe (c), Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Stephen Moore/Saia Fainga'a, James Slipper, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Gill,  Brett Sheehan, Anthony Fainga'a, Kurtley Beale.

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