Aus latest – Rabbit runs at 10

Keo.co.za brings you news from Australia’s Super Rugby franchises.

Rabbit runs at 10 – James O’Connor will start at flyhalf in the Western Force’s clash with the Waratahs on Thursday. The move is just a precaution as first-choice No 10 Willie Ripia recovers from a slight foot injury.

Other changes see Richard Brown returning to No 8, while Ben McCalman partners Phoenix Battye in the second row. Matt Hodgson changes to the blindside flank, while Jono Jenkins starts in the No.7 jersey.

Cameron Shepherd is back at fullback while Nick Cummins replaces David Smith on the wing. Rory Sidey will start at centre against his former team.

Western Force – 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Rory Sidey, 12 Gene Fairbanks, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 James O’Connor, 9 James Stannard, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Jono Jenkins, 6 Matt Hodgson (c), 5 Ben McCalman, 4 Phoenix Battye, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Subs: TBC

Tahs to field cold Robinson – Waratahs prop Benn Robinson is expected to start in his team’s Super Rugby opener against the Melbourne Rebels next weekend, despite not featuring in any pre-season games this year.

Robinson was ruled out of the Tahs’ warm-up games with a calf strain but head coach Chris Hickey plans to start the Wallabies loosehead against the Rebels.

‘We are treating Benn’s situation cautiously,’ Hickey told smh.com.au. ‘He is going through our rehabilitation process, and making good progress. But at this stage we didn’t think it was worth pushing him for a trial game. We are still hopeful he will be right for the Rebels game.’

Meanwhile, wing Drew Mitchell has signed a two-year contract extension with the ARU and Waratahs.

Mitchell was connected with a move to Europe after the World Cup, but the speedster has decided to remain in Australia for at least two more seasons until 2013.