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Ioane returns for Australia


Digby Ioane has been named in the Australia team to face England

Digby Ioane has been named in the Australia team to face England

Digby Ioane has been named in the Australia team to face England

Australia winger Digby Ioane returns for Saturday's Cook Cup clash with England at Twickenham as one of four changes to the side blitzed by France.

The hard-running Ioane missed the Wallabies' last two matches with a knee injury but is restored to the number 14 jersey, replacing neck-injury victim Pat McCabe.

Berrick Barnes is selected at full-back, forcing Mike Harris to settle for a place on the bench, after his second-half substitute appearance in the 33-6 rout in Paris.

Australia's scrum was pulverised by France last week so the return of tighthead Ben Alexander is timely. A wrist injury has prevented Alexander from playing since last month's 25-19 win over Argentina at Rosario, which sealed second place in the Rugby Championship.

Completing the changes is Sitaleki Timani's selection in the second row after missing out against France because of a tight lower back.

Alexander and Timani take over from Kane Douglas, ruled out with knee ligament damage, and Sekope Kepu.

Australia were hit by the loss of outstanding openside David Pocock earlier in the week. He was expected to make his comeback from a knee problem at Twickenham, only for a scan to reveal he has incurred a calf strain.

The promising Michael Hooper continues at seven in his absence, while Kurtley Beale is asked to pull the strings at fly-half once more.

Australia: B Barnes; D Ioane, A Ashley-Cooper, B Tapuai, N Cummins; K Beale, N Phipps; B Robinson, T Polota Nau, B Alexander, S Timani, N Sharpe, D Dennis, M Hooper, W Palu.

Replacements: S Moore, J Slipper, S Kepu, R Samo, L Gill, B Sheehan, M Harris, D Mitchell.

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