Aussie latest – Tahs tweak back row

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

Tahs tweak back row – Dave Dennis will start at No 8 in the absence of Wycliff Palu while Dean Mumm moves to blindside flank.

Pat O’Connor is back in the second row, while the backline welcomes back Wallabies centre Ryan Cross.

Dan Vickerman will make his first appearance this season from the bench.

Waratahs – 15 Kurtley Beale; 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Afa Pakalani; 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Luke Burgess; 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Pat O’Connor, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Dan Vickerman, 19 Chris Alcock, 20 Hugh Perrett, 21 Josh Holmes, 22 Sosene Anese.

Pocock to skipper Force – David Pocock will captain the Western Force in the absence of lock Nathan Sharpe.

Sharpe is out with an ankle injury and is replaced by Ben McCalman in the second row. Wing Nick Cummins is also ruled out with a leg injury, which sees Alfie Mafi promoted to the run-on side.

Force – 15 Patrick Dellit, 14 Alfie Mafi, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 David Smith, 10 James Stannard, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 Ben McCalman, 3 Matt Dunning, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Kieran Longbottom.
Subs: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Tom Hockings, 19 Jono Jenkins, 20 Mark Swanepoel, 21 Willie Ripia, 22 Cameron Shepherd.

Ralph to rescue Reds – Former All Blacks utility back Caleb Ralph will play for the injury-ravaged Reds in the final stages of the current Super Rugby competition.

The 33-year-old Ralph has spent the last two years playing club rugby in Queensland, and comes into the Reds’ squad ahead of their final league game against the Chiefs. Reports from Australia indicate that he could replace the injured Luke Morahan on the wing.

‘At this stage of our campaign we are looking for an experienced outside back and Caleb fits the bill,’ McKenzie said. ‘He is a veteran who has no doubt played many times against the Chiefs in Hamilton and therefore we think he’s a good fit.’

O’Connor closer to Melbourne move – The Rebels are expected to announce the recruitment of James O’Connor once the Australian Rugby Union has signed off on the deal.

O’Connor will miss the Force’s last game of the season because of suspension, and will not play another match for the Perth team. The Force were hoping to re-sign O’Connor for the 2012 season but negotiations have broken down.

‘We presented James with extremely generous terms which reflected his talent and standing at the Western Force,’ RugbyWA chief executive Vern Reid in a statement. ‘We were fully committed to giving James every opportunity to continue his development through the rugby program in Western Australia, however it is clear his final decision has been based on other factors.

‘We’re still a young club and it is fundamental in our development that everyone is committed to building a cohesive culture that defines a team ethos. The terms being imposed by James’ management did not correlate with that objective.’