No room for O’Connor for Wallabies against Italy

Australia have named the same side that beat New Zealand for their World Cup opener against Italy on Sunday.

The Wallabies go into the first game of their campaign having recently claimed their first Tri Nations title in ten years a matter of weeks before they get their tournament underway against the Azzurri, and coach Robbie Deans has opted to field a strong side against their European rivals, making no changes to the side that defeated New Zealand 25-20.

That means there is no room for James O’Connor, who was left out of the crucial game against the All Blacks after turning up late to the announcement of the Wallabies World Cup Squad, although he is included on the bench.

He (O’Connor) wasn’t available to us in the last instance, he is on this occasion and he has been selected on the bench which is one step closer,” said Deans.

“It’s like injuries and a lot of time is spent talking about players who are not available to you but the game is not about that, it’s about the people who are available to you and those lucky enough to get the opportunity.

“Most players don’t wait for those opportunities when they’re presented with them and that’s the key to make the most of the time you have got.”

Radike Samo keeps his place having scored one of the tries of the year against Graham Henry’s side in the Tri Nations, while Tatafu Polota-Nau has claimed a spot on the bench having usurped Saia Fainga’a as cover for Stephen Moore at hooker. James Slipper also replaces Salesi Ma’afu on the bench.

Australia will go into the World Cup with the youngest average age of all the squads competing in the tournament, and only four Australians have any World Cup experience.

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