Wallabies coach Robbie Deans
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans

Cooper not among nine

NINE Queensland Reds players are in the 22-man squad to take on Scotland in Newcastle tomorrow, but star five-eighth Quade Cooper is not one of them.

Coach Robbie Deans has handed the number 10 shirt to Berrick Barnes, preferring not to gamble on the fitness of Cooper who has only played 120 minutes for the Reds following his knee reconstruction.

He will return to Queensland to continue his rehabilitation.

"The time we've had with Quade this week has been useful, in terms of getting up to speed with where he is at, while also getting him involved with the group," Deans said. "But it was clear, both from what he has done for Queensland and in training with us, that he needs more playing time before he is ready to play a Test.

"Physically he is in great shape, but confidence is important in any sport and you only build that up with game time."
The starting XV for the game includes a new captain and five players making their Test debuts.

Western Force open-side flanker David Pocock will lead Australia for the first time after regular skipper James Horwill was ruled out with an injured hamstring.

The Wallabies' newcomers are former New Zealand under-20 representative Mike Harris at inside-centre, former Gold Coast Titan Joe Tomane on the wing, fullback Luke Morahan, loose forward Dave Dennis and tight-head prop Dan Palmer.

Harris qualifies for the Wallabies on heritage grounds representing the birth place of his grandmother.

Deans admitted the fact the Scotland Test comes just three days after the 15th week of Super Rugby matches had influenced his team selection.

"We looked at all the options around each position, in terms of the relative workloads each of the players has already had this year, the amount of preparation we were able to have with them before the game, and their ability to back up off a tight turnaround before settling on the final combination," he said.

Australia has not lost to Scotland on home soil since 1982.

Wallabies: Luke Morahan (Queensland), Joe Tomane (ACT), Anthony Fainga'a (Queensland), Mike Harris (Queensland), Digby Ioane (Queensland), Berrick Barnes (NSW), Will Genia (Queensland), Scott Higginbotham (Queensland), David Pocock (Western Force, capt), Dave Dennis (NSW), Nathan Sharpe (Western Force), Sitaleki Timani (NSW), Dan Palmer (ACT), Stephen Moore (ACT), James Slipper (Queensland). Replacements: Saia Fainga'a (Queensland), Ben Alexander (ACT), Rob Simmons (Queensland), Michael Hooper (ACT), Nick Phipps (Melbourne), Pat McCabe (ACT), Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW).

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