Wobblies axe Rogers

Mat Rogers’ was one of two changes for Australia ahead of their Test against Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Sunday.

Rogers, who had pleaded for another run in the No 10 shirt, felt the sting of the selectors axe as a result of indifferent performances at pivot in a new-look Wallaby backline.

Stephen Larkham shifts from inside centre to his more familiar role of flyhalf and will have Sterling Mortlock and Lote Tuqiri as his midfield pair.

Mercurial Irish outside centre Brian O’Driscoll said he had expected to see the Mortlock/Tuqiri combination line up against them and predicted that it would be an almighty midfield battle.

“You know what you’re getting when you’re playing Mortlock and Tuqiri. They are both extremely strong, physical players,” he told APP.

“It’s a case of us having our hands full. But I think they’d be looking at us thinking the same thing.”

Mark Gerrard comes into the side and replaces Tuqiri at wing, following an impressive performance for Australia A against Ireland A last night.

In the only change to the pack Phil Waugh replaces George Smith on the openside flank.

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan said he expected it to be a closely fought Test.

“I think we’re pretty evenly matched in all departments,” O’Sullivan said.

“I don’t think Australia are terribly much bigger than us, I don’t think they have an advantage in speed, I think they’re a very skilful team but I think they’re very tactically aware.

“It will be a good tactical battle. That’s where the game will be won on the day, I think, tactically.”

Australia: Chris Latham, Clyde Rathbone, Lote Tuqiri, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Mark Gerrard, Stephen Larkham, Matt Giteau, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh, Rocky Elsom, Nathan Sharpe, Mark Chisholm, Guy Shepherdson, Brendan Cannon or Tai McIsaac, Al Baxter. Reserves: Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson, Al Campbell, George Smith, Josh Valentine, Mat Rogers, Scott Staniforth.

Ireland: Geordan Murphy, Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll (capt), Gordon D’Arcy, Denis Hickie, Ronan O’Gara, Isaac Boss, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Neil Best, Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan, John Hayes, Rory Best, Bryan Young, Reserves: Frankie Sheahan, Marcus Horan, Malcolm O’Kelly, Simon Easterby, Peter Stringer, Paddy Wallace, Girvan Dempsey.