20/06/2013 10:00 | By John Connolly, former Australian coach

Australia team- player by player



Much of the talk ahead of the first Test has been about the Australian who won't be featuring - Quade Cooper. But even without his undoubted flair, Robbie Deans' side are packed with talent. Here's a player-by-player rundown:

Will Genia is Australia's lynchpin in the absence of David Pocock

Will Genia is Australia's lynchpin in the absence of David Pocock

BERRICK BARNES – fullback
Age: 27
Size: 183cm, 87kg
Tests: 50

Versatile playmaker who will kick Australia out of trouble from the back. Also faces a huge challenge taking on Lions sharpshooter Leigh Halfpenny in the goalkicking battle.

ISRAEL FOLAU – winger
Age: 23
Size: 193cm, 103kg
Tests: 0

The league international has been an instant hit in his third football code and is a potential game-breaker despite his inexperience. Watch for his incredible footwork and power as well as his ability to outjump opponents for cross-field kicks.

ADAM ASHLEY-COOPER – centre
Age: 29
Size: 182cm, 98kg
Tests: 77

Wallabies' Mr Fix-It for so long, the versatile Waratah appears to be benefitting from an extended run at outside centre in Super Rugby. Promises to be defensively solid in the mouth-watering midfield clash with Lions veteran Brian O’Driscoll.

CHRISTIAN LEALIIFANO – inside centre
Age: 25
Size: 179cm, 92kg
Tests: 0

The Brumbies star can also play flyhalf and possesses the skills to steer the side around the park if necessary. Could swap roles with the inexperienced James O’Connor inside him throughout the match.

DIGBY IOANE – winger
Age: 27
Size: 179cm, 93kg
Tests: 34

Consistently the Wallabies’ most dangerous player with ball in hand in recent seasons. The power-packed winger is a genuinely world class finisher but is returning from knee surgery.

JAMES O'CONNOR - five-eighth
Age: 22
Size: 180cm, 89kg
Tests: 37

There are doubts about whether the inexperienced O’Connor has the composure to lead the Wallabies from flyhalf. He impressed during his previous stint as a Test flyhalf in 2011 with his direct style.

WILL GENIA – halfback
Age: 25
Size: 174cm, 82kg
Tests: 41

Will Genia becomes the Wallabies lynchpin in the absence of David Pocock. The Lions defence around the fringes will want to be watertight with this man at the scrumbase.

WYCLIFF PALU - No8
Age: 30
Size: 194cm, 116kg
Tests: 46

A key for the Wallabies when fit, the Waratahs back-rower has the size and power to get over the advantage line, something that coach Robbie Deans loves.

MICHAEL HOOPER - openside flanker
Age: 21
Size: 182cm, 101kg
Tests: 13

The Waratahs No7 will threaten the Lions with his pace but must achieve at least parity in the breakdown battle with Sam Warburton if the Wallabies are to stand any chance. He revelled in his debut Test season in 2012 when filling in for David Pocock.

BEN MOWEN - blindside flanker
Age: 28
Size: 195cm, 115kg
Tests: 0

The Brumbies captain is a no-frills player and a more than handy option at the back of the lineout.

JAMES HORWILL (captain) – lock
Age: 27
Size: 200cm, 117kg
Tests: 35

An inspirational leader who is also a reassuringly tough and influential forward presence.

KANE DOUGLAS – lock
Age: 24
Size: 200cm, 119kg
Tests: 6

The hard-hitting Waratah will need to be part of a huge effort from the Wallabies tight five against their uncompromising Lions rivals.

BEN ALEXANDER – prop
Age: 28
Size: 189cm, 117kg
Tests: 48

Versatile Brumbies prop who loves to get his hands on the ball but has a big scrummaging assignment.

STEPHEN MOORE – hooker
Age: 30
Size: 186cm, 112kg
Tests: 76

Australia's most-capped current forward is reliable, no-frills and a key figure up front. Will need to be at his very best if the Wallabies are to get at least parity in the set pieces.

BENN ROBINSON – prop
Age: 28
Size: 183cm, 113kg
Tests: 56

Nicknamed 'Fat Cat', the experienced prop faces a massive scrum battle with Adam Jones.

Reserves:

SAIA FAINGAA
Age: 26
Size: 187cm, 108kg
Tests: 18

The Reds hooker gets his chance through injury to Tatafu Polota-Nau. The athletic Queenslander could be instrumental off the bench with his ability to play like a fourth loose forward. 

JAMES SLIPPER
Age: 23
Size: 185cm, 113kg
Tests: 34

Youthful Reds prop who plays like a back-rower around the paddock and can pack both sides of the scrum.

SEKOPE KEPU
Age: 27
Size: 188cm, 118kg
Tests: 23

Top scrummager who plays both sides of the scrum but has taken time to warm up in 2013.

ROB SIMMONS
Age: 24
Size: 200cm, 115kg
Tests: 23

An athletic second-rower who is a fine operator at lineout time.

LIAM GILL
Age: 20
Size: 184cm, 96kg
Tests: 8

The Reds youngster is an openside flanker in the classic scavenging mould.

NICK PHIPPS
Age: 24
Size: 180cm, 87kg
Tests: 12

The Melbourne Rebels No9 is a slick operator but will struggle for game time behind Genia.

PAT MCCABE
Age: 25
Size: 185cm, 94kg
Tests: 19

Hard-running and strong-tackling inside centre is benched with Deans preferring the wide skill-set of Lealiifano. The direct Brumbies star has overcome hamstring and knee injuries in 2013.

KURTLEY BEALE
Age: 24
Size: 182cm, 89kg
Tests: 36

Has endured a tough time off the field recently but the brilliant flyhalf/fullback has arguably the best footwork in world rugby and looms as a skilful late game-breaker.

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