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McKenzie calls time on Kurtley Beale flyhalf experiment, names Foley, Phipps for South Africa

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PERTH, Australia - Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has abandoned the experiment of using Kurtley Beale at flyhalf and named the New South Wales Waratahs halves pairing of Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps for Saturday's Rugby Championship test against South Africa.

McKenzie tried Beale in the No. 10 jersey in Australia's 12-12 draw with New Zealand at Sydney and saw enough to keep him there for the Bledisloe Cup re-match in Auckland. But the All Blacks' 51-20 win has caused the Wallabies head coach to reorganize his backline for the home match against South Africa.

Inside centre Matt Toomua, winger Rob Horne and fullback Israel Folau have held their places, and Adam Ashley-Cooper will move from centre to wing in place of Pat McCabe, who was forced into retirement by a neck injury. Tevita Kuridrani will start at centre.

Scrumhalf Phipps and flyhalf Foley have never combined in a test match but their partnership played a large role in the Waratahs' win in this season's Super Rugby tournament. McKenzie was seen as taking a chance by naming Beale at flyhalf, after he had played most of the Waratahs' season at inside centre, and preferring the ACT Brumbies' Nic White to Phipps.

McKenzie said Phipps and Foley have "a proven combination at Super Rugby level and we look forward to seeing how that translates into the test environment."

"It's naturally disappointing for the two guys who missed out on the starting team in Nic and Kurtley, but the reality is we have a lot of good players in those playmaking positions," he said.

In the forwards, Queensland's James Hanson has been named at hooker in place of Nathan Charles who suffered a season-ending injury in Auckland. The Wallabies had previously lost hookers Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau to injuries.

McKenzie has named six forwards and two backs on the bench as he seeks to answer the challenge of the giant Springboks pack.

Former captain James Horwill returns from injury to take the spot on the bench previously held by young lock Will Skelton. Queensland Reds hooker Saia Fainga'a and Western Force flanker Matt Hodgson have both been named in the match day squad for the first time this season.

"Traditionally (South Africa) are a forward-orientated side which uses their size, power and set-piece to put pressure on the opposition," McKenzie said. "You have to confront that head-on and match fire with fire.

"The addition of an extra forward also offers us greater flexibility in how we approach our substitutions."

South Africa comes into the match with two narrow wins over Argentina, who play the All Blacks in Napier on Saturday.

_____

Australia: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper (captain), Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Sam Carter, Sekope Kepu, James Hanson, James Slipper. Res: Saia Fainga'a, Pek Cowan, Ben Alexander, James Horwill, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Nic White, Kurtley Beale.

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