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Deans makes changes for Wales clash

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Scott Higginbotham will play at flanker when Australia take on Wales

Scott Higginbotham will play at flanker when Australia take on Wales

Scott Higginbotham will play at flanker when Australia take on Wales

Australia coach Robbie Deans has reacted to his team's surprise defeat to Scotland by making eight changes for Saturday's opening Test match against Wales at Suncorp Stadium.

Five new forwards and three backs have been rushed into the line-up following the embarrassing 9-6 loss in Newcastle.

The all-Waratahs front-row of Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson will start the match, with second-rower Rob Simmons and number eight Wycliff Palu also returning to the starting XV. Scott Higginbotham moves to blindside flanker to accommodate Palu's inclusion.

Deans has also re-shuffled his backline, including Adam Ashley-Cooper at full-back and partnering Rob Horne and Pat McCabe in the centres.

Brumbies half-back Nic White has been named on the bench and will become the 860th Wallaby if given a run.

Deans was always going to make changes regardless of the Scotland result, but it is clear a number of players played their way out of the team with poor performances.

Wales are the reigning Six Nations champions and will present much stiffer opposition than Scotland.

The Wallabies beat Wales 24-18 in Cardiff in December and have won eight of the nine Tests played in Australia.

Australia team: A Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs); J Tomane (Brumbies), R Horne (NSW Waratahs), P McCabe (Brumbies), D Ioane (Queensland Reds); B Barnes (NSW Waratahs), W Genia (Queensland Reds); B Robinson (NSW Waratahs), T Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs), S Kepu (NSW Waratahs), R Simmons (Queensland Reds), N Sharpe (Western Force), S Higginbotham (Queensland Reds), D Pocock (captain, Western Force), W Palu (NSW Waratahs).

Replacements: S Moore (Brumbies), B Alexander (Brumbies), D Dennis (NSW Waratahs), M Hooper (Brumbies), N White (Brumbies), A Fainga'a (Queensland Reds), M Harris (Queensland Reds).

PA