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Palu recalled for Australia against All Blacks

Palu recalled for Australia against All Blacks

Wycliff Palu has been recalled after an injury-enforced absence in the only change to Australia's starting XV for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations series opener in New Zealand.
Palu missed Australia's opening four matches of the season, including wins of Italy and France, but was recalled at No. 8 in the only change to the lineup which started in the 22-6 win over France in Sydney last month.
He broke two bones in his hand during the Super 14 tournament but returned for two club matches in Sydney this week, enough for coach Robbie Deans to select him the Bledisloe Cup match in Auckland.
He replaces Dean Mumm in the backrow, with Richard Brown switching from No. 8 to flanker.
Mumm was included on a substitutes bench that features five forwards and two backs _ teenager James O'Connor and Reds scrumhalf Will Genia.
Deans included veteran Phil Waugh and David Pocock on the bench as cover for the openside flank.
"We have made good progress, and the relative consistency of our selection reflects that, but no one is getting ahead of themselves," Deans said. "Playing New Zealand at Eden Park is going to be a major step up on what we have faced so far.
"You only have to look at the history in terms of the All Blacks' outstanding record at Eden Park and their current circumstance, to appreciate the size of the task that is in front of us."
Australia has not won at Auckland's Eden Park since 1986 and has not won a test match anywhere in New Zealand since 2001.
The Wallabies lost 39-10 last year at the same venue.
"We were simply not good enough and got found out in a big way during this match last year," Deans said. "Returning to the same venue offers us an opportunity to see how much progress we have made as a group in the time since."
The Australians have not conceded a try in 3 hours, 17 minutes, with flanker George Smith key to a strong defense. Smith will run on for his 100th test appearance on Saturday, his 29th birthday.
"It's an outstanding achievement," Deans said. "Hopefully we can do the occasion justice as a team."
The Australia squad leaves for New Zealand on Wednesday. The All Blacks have not lost at Eden Park to any team since 1994.
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Australia squad: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Lachie Turner, Stirling Mortlock (captain), Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess; Wycliff Palu, George Smith, Richard Brown, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Ben Alexander, Dean Mumm, Phil Waugh, David Pocock, Will Genia, James O'Connor.