29 Oct 2009

George Smith relegated to bench for Bledisloe Cup test

7:44 am on 29 October 2009

The Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has made radical changes to his starting fifteen for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test in Tokyo, including dropping veteran flanker George Smith to the bench.

David Pocock, considered by many as a future Test captain, will start as openside flanker, opposing All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, after Deans relegated Smith for the first time in eight trans-Tasman encounters since taking over as Wallabies coach last year.

In his efforts to find a winning formula for the slumping Wallabies, Deans has also dumped three of the starting backline from their 33-6 drubbing by the All Blacks last month - fullback James O'Connor, and wingers Lachie Turner and Drew Mitchell.

Digby Ioane, who missed the Tri-Nations campaign due to injury, has been selected at left wing for Mitchell with Peter Hynes on the right wing, and Adam Ashley-Cooper starts at fullback.