Rocky returns

Rocky Elsom will start for the Wallabies against the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday.

Elsom, who returned to Australia this year after a short stint with Leinster, comes in at blindside flank, which sees Richard Brown shift to No 8 at the expense of Wycliff Palu. Among the backs, Adam Ashley-Cooper moves from fullback to centre, with James O’Connor at 15.

With Stirling Mortlock injured, George Smith assumes the captaincy.

‘While he hasn’t been able to get a game in [because of injury], Rocky has done the work to get back up to speed. We are satisfied that he is good to go,’ said Wallabies coach Robbie Deans. ‘It is a big ask of him to make his comeback in a Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations Test, but that’s the reality of our schedule, and is the sort of challenge he thrives on.’

Deans said the other changes were form-related.

‘[O'Connor] showed in Cape Town that he was quite capable of handling himself at this level,’ said Deans. ‘The pressure there, given the circumstance in which James entered the game, was as great then as it could be, and he acquitted himself well.

‘As did Adam, when he moved into centre after Stirling was injured. Saturday is another good opportunity for him in the midfield.’

Wallabies – 15 James O’Connor, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Richard Brown, 7 George Smith (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 James Horwill, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 David Pocock, 20 Will Genia, 21 Ryan Cross, 22 Peter Hynes.