Wallabies coach Robbie Deans named James O’Connor as his preferred playmaker in a 25-man squad to face the British and Irish Lions, while leaving the selection door open for the omitted Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale.
Australia retained Berrick Barnes at fly-half and omitted Quade Cooper for this week’s Rugby Championship opener against world champion New Zealand. Juan Martin Hernandez will make his first start in more than three years for Argentina’s tournament debut in South Africa.
Nathan Sharpe was named as Australia’s third on-field captain of 2012 and will lead a team featuring four starting changes for this weekend’s Rugby Championship match against Argentina on the Gold Coast.
Australia beat Wales 20-19 and world champion New Zealand shut out Ireland in a record 60-0 rout to complete 3-0 wins in their rugby Test series. England avoided a sweep with a 14-14 tie in South Africa.