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New boys know the score - Sharpe

Nathan Sharpe is expecting the new faces in the Australia team to have no trouble adapting to the big stage in Saturday's Tri-Nations encounter against South Africa in Bloemfontein.

The veteran lock is preparing to win his 87th Test cap for his country and will have plenty of unfamiliar faces around him after Robbie Deans drafted in Stephen Moore, Mark Chisholm and Ben McCalman following last week's 44-31 defeat. Sharpe, who was an injury doubt after hurting his ankle, has recovered to take his place and will line up alongside Chisholm.

He said: "They've been in the Tri-Nations squad from the outset so you'd expect them to have a fairly good understanding of what's going on."

The 32-year-old also denied there were any issues in the line-outs - an area of their game the Australians seemed to struggle with last week.

Even Deans raised the issue after the game, but Sharpe continued: "If you look at the game, there really was no issue previous to the last few minutes.

"The South Africans made a big fuss about it afterwards, so it made it appear there was a problem, but we did not see it that way.

"It was just a few small mistakes at the end. We did not view it as a major problem and we feel we are definitely on the right track in the line-outs."


From Belfast Telegraph