Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Wallabies pick Folau for showdown against Lions

AP, BRISBANE, Australia

The Wallabies’ Israel Folau presents the ball in a drill during a team training session in Sydney on June 6.

Photo: AFP

Code-switching Israel Folau will become a dual international when he makes his Wallabies debut against the Lions tomorrow, one of three new caps in an Australia lineup aiming to repeat their 2001 series win over the combined British and Irish team.

The ex-Australia rugby league international only started playing rugby union this season, after a brief stopover in the Aussie rules Australian Football League.

He will make his Wallabies debut on the right wing along with Brumbies pair, backrower Ben Mowen and center Christian Leali’ifano, in the first Test in Brisbane.

Folau and Leali’ifano will figure in a reshaped Wallabies backline with Melbourne Rebels playmaker James O’Connor starting at flyhalf for only the second time in a Test match and Berrick Barnes at fullback. Scrumhalf Will Genia will control the backline featuring his Reds teammate Digby Ioane on the left wing, while Leali’ifano will combine with experienced utility Adam Ashley-Cooper in the centers.

Queensland Reds lock James Horwill was named captain.

Warren Gatland announced his Lions squad around midday, sticking with eight players from his Six Nations-winning Welsh lineup including flanker Sam Warburton as captain. Ireland veteran Brian O’Driscoll, who produced a standout appearance on his Lions debut at age 22 in the first-Test win over Australia in 2001, will start in the centers with Jonathan Davies.

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