Australian rugby coach Robbie Deans has wrung the changes following his side’s loss to England at Twickenham, bringing in five players for Saturday’s Test against Italy.
One of those sees prop James Slipper making his first start for the Wallabies in what will be his 13th cap, taking the place of Benn Robinson.
The other changes from the 35-18 defeat at Twickenham see Lachie Turner come in on the wing for James O’Connor and Berrick Barnes replace Matt Giteau at inside centre.
Luke Burgess replaces Will Genia, who’s struggling with an injury, at scrum-half, while lock Rob Simmons also makes his first start in place of Mark Chisholm.
Deans said he is convinced Slipper and Simmons are more than ready to take the step up to a starting berth.
“We’ve seen James (Slipper) before, this will be his 13th cap and all the other’s have been off the bench, he’s done very well with every opportunity he’s had and this is his reward to be in at the start,” he said.
“Rob Simmons got his first test cap against South Africa in Brisbane this year, he’s had a number off the bench in the Tri-Natons, these are experiences that he will have learned a lot from and he’s since had a couple of full fixtures under his belt (in midweek games).
“Berrick (Barnes) as with Luke (Burgess) have served us pretty well off the bench, some of their performances have been decisive for us and their reward is a start.”
Deans said Slipper deserves his chance despite his relative inexperience but warned him not to get carried away.
“He has done well but as we saw last week (against England) you can’t presume anything, as soon as your feet get disconnected with the ground, someone reconnects you with earth pretty quickly,” said Deans
“He’s done well, he’s got what’s required but first and foremost is mentality.”
Slipper himself is looking forward to scrumming down against Italy and Leicester Tigers tight-head Martin Castrogiovanni.
“This time last year I was probably in Brisbane starting pre-season for the 2010 Super 14 season,” he said.
“I’m definitely over the moon, I’ve learnt a lot from Benn Robinson and hopefully I’ll live up to what he’s done already.
“This is going to be my 13th test, I’ve become pretty comfortable and every week there’s a new challenge.
“I’m looking forward to improving my game, every week I’m coming up against a new pack, I’m up against Castro this time and that will be a steep test, he’s one of the best tight heads I’ve seen so it will be a good time.”
For centre Quaide Cooper, it is a return to the scene of his debut two years ago when he came off the bench to score the winning try as Australia scraped past Italy 30-20 in Padua.
“That was a great weekend, I was sitting on the bench and I was pretty stoked to be a part of the game,” he said.
“To come on for the last 10 minutes and score a try was a dream come true, it doesn’t get much better than that.
“For me it was exciting times so to come back with a big game in front, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”