Australia coach Robbie Deans has switched Matt Giteau to flyhalf and recalled utility Berrick Barnes as cover for the suspended Quade Cooper in the Wallabies team to play New Zealand in their Tri-Nations clash in Melbourne on Saturday.
Cooper is appealing a two-week suspension after being cited for lifting Morne Steyn in a tackle during the Wallabies' 30-13 win over South Africa in Brisbane last week. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
‘We've prepared on the basis that Quade won't be available to us, so we won't contemplate anything other than that until such time it becomes a reality and then we'll deal with it,’ New Zealander Deans said.
Giteau, who had been dislodged from his starting flyhalf position after Cooper's excellent season in the Super 14, will play inside Barnes, named at centre.
Barnes was named vice captain on the Wallabies' northern hemisphere tour last year, but has found himself warming the bench this season to allow Cooper to replicate his dangerous midfield partnership with Queensland Reds team mate Will Genia.
The Barnes-Giteau pairing is their first since the Wallabies were trounced by the All Blacks in Wellington in last year's tournament.