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SYDNEY: Kurtley Beale was yesterday recalled to the Wallabies team for this weekend’s third Test against Wales, under- lining Australia’s determination to wrap up the series 3-0.
Beale’s return at fullback after recovering from a shoulder injury was one of two changes to the starting line-up which won the second Test 25-23.
Sitaleki Timani also returns to the side after missing the first two Tests with injury, replacing Rob Simmons in the second row alongside Nathan Sharpe.
The 23-year-old Beale, who has been in fine form this season at flyhalf for the Melbourne Rebels, was selected despite his being charged with assault after a fracas at a nightclub before Australia’s 27-19 victory in the first Test in Brisbane.
Beale and flyhalf Quade Cooper, who was ruled out of the series as he continues to recover from the injury he suffered at last year’s World Cup, are also the subject of an Australian Rugby Union investigation into the incident.
“It has been frustrating for Kurtley, and he’s obviously had some off-field challenges to deal with as well, but it was important for all concerned that he had full confidence in his shoulder before we looked at re-introducing him to the Test arena,” coach Robbie Deans said.
Winger Cooper Vuna makes way for his Super Rugby teammate in the back three with versatile back Adam Ashley-Cooper moving from fullback to take Vuna’s place on the wing.
Simmons is relegated to a bench packed with five forwards, while last Saturday’s Melbourne hero Mike Harris and Vuna are to miss out altogether.
“Wales are a very good side. They give you nothing and they take their scoring chances. They showed that in the Six Nations, and they showed it against us last weekend,” Deans added.
Australia starting XV: Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Will Genia; Wycliff Palu, David Pocock (capt), Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Replacements: Stephen Moore, Benn Alexander, Rob Simmons, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Nic White, Anthony Fainga’a.