An Injury to Stirling Mortlock has given Waratahs centre Morgan Turinui the chance to return to the Wallabies starting line-up
An Injury to Stirling Mortlock has given Waratahs centre Morgan Turinui the chance to return to the Wallabies starting line-up

Turinui gets chance


SYDNEY (AAP): For South African coach Jake White it was a case of careful what you wish for with the Wallabies today naming Mat Rogers in place of fullback Chris Latham for Saturday's Test against the Wallabies.

The Springbok mentor had cheekily suggested Australian coach Eddie Jones would pick Waratah Rogers ahead of incumbent Queenslander Chris Latham just to appease the Sydney crowd for tomorrow's Mandela Challenge match at Telstra Stadium.

Rogers was indeed selected but perhaps not for the reasons White envisaged.

The luckless Latham re-injured the hamstring that kept him out of the Italian Test while training in Coffs Harbour this week, giving Rogers another crack at the No.15 jersey he'd ably worn against the Azzurri.

Rogers' inclusion was one of two starting team changes for the Australians with Morgan Turinui replacing Stirling Mortlock at outside centre.

Mortlock also succumbed to a hamstring injury, sustained against the Tricolores.

Phil Waugh joins the Test team for the first time this year after carrying a knee injury from the Super 12 but the flanker will start off the bench, not in the XV as also suggested by White earlier in the week.

Uncapped Reds back Drew Mitchell, rated very highly by Jones, also earns a spot on the bench.

Turinui said he probably wouldn't have displaced Mortlock if not for the injury but aimed for the starting spot by the time the Tri Nations started at the end of July.

In the best form of his career and with two tries against the French off the bench last week, Turinui also admitted he had perhaps taken for granted playing for Australia when first picked prior to the 2003 World Cup as a 21-year-old.

"The funny thing about Test football is when you get picked you are never really prepared for it," he said.

"I probably wasn't mature enough to realise I still had a long way to go.

"When you are 21 and get picked in your first Test you think you are at the top of the tree when you should realise you are just given an opportunity to develop your game in a great environment and you really need to move forward from there.

"I relaxed a bit and you can't do that."

Turinui's line-breaking ability coupled with the silky all-round skills of centre partner Matt Giteau will provide and interesting corollary to the more defensive South African combination of De Wet Barry and Marius Joubert.

Already the most capped Springbok centre pair of all time, Barry and Joubert are capable in attack but are more known for their bone-jarring tackles.

Their speed off the line makes them dangerous when the hits

are timed right but Turinui said it will also present the Australian outside backs with opportunities.

"They are definitely very abrasive and have a much faster line speed than any other team in Test football and the things we did against France (in the backs) won't work," he said.

"But because they play that big hit or miss style it also leaves them open a bit ? so the more questions we ask of them the more chance they have of getting a couple wrong."

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