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James O'Connor continues at fly-half for Aussies

Updated: Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 13:07 | Comments

James O'Connor will start for Australia against the Lions
James O'Connor will start for Australia against the Lions

Australia have retained James O'Connor at fly-half and selected Kurtley Beale at full-back for Saturday's second Test against the British and Irish Lions at the Etihad Stadium.

O'Connor failed to impress in last weekend's 23-21 defeat by the tourists but has been given another chance with Beale - a 39th minute replacement in Brisbane - coming in for the concussed Berrick Barnes.

Centres Adam Ashley-Cooper and Christian Leali'ifano start after recovering from their respective shoulder and concussion problems, both sustained at the Suncorp Stadium.

Leali'ifano was stretchered off after tackling opposite number Jonathan Davies inside the opening minute but has passed the required post-concussion tests and will relieve O'Connor and Beale of the goalkicking duties.

The Brumbies inside centre, who offers a playmaking option, was due to take the kicks at the Suncorp Stadium until he was knocked out.

The second and final change to the starting XV sees Joe Tomane, who has recovered from a toe problem, picked on the left wing to plug the gap left by Digby Ioane's series-ending shoulder injury.

Tomane, born in New Zealand but raised in Australia, returned to rugby union last year after four seasons in league.

Former league sensation Israel Folau continues on the right wing following a stunning Test debut topped by two tries.

The pack is unchanged with returning 110-cap veteran George Smith unable to break into the 23 despite his recovery from a knee injury.

Prop Ben Alexander, a strong performer in Brisbane, becomes the 38th Wallaby to feature in 50 Tests.

Centre Rob Horne and full-back Jesse Mogg have been added to the bench to cover for the absence among the replacements of Pat McCabe - out for the rest of the year with a fractured neck - and Beale.

Australia must beat the Lions on Saturday to remain in contention for the series with the final Test played in Sydney on 6 June.

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