10 Jun 2009

Teenager O'Connor to make first Test start

12:03 pm on 10 June 2009

Teenager James O'Connor will make his first rugby Test start for Australia against Italy in Canberra on Saturday, in a team notable for the absence of veterans Lote Tuqiri and Phil Waugh.

The 18-year-old back, named in the reserves for Australia's record 55-7 thrashing of the invitational Barbarians last weekend, replaces Adam Ashley Cooper in the starting line-up.

Australia has made only one other change to the team that beat the Barbarians, bringing in blindside flanker Dean Mumm for the injured Matt Hodgson.

Winger Tuqiri, left out of the Barbarians match after scoring only two tries in a poor Super 14 season, was again overlooked in favour of Drew Mitchell, who scored two tries against the Barbarians.

Waugh, who captained the Barbarians, may also struggle to return to the Wallabies, with Western Force's David Pocock named on the bench as back-up for regular openside flanker George Smith.