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Tom Banks handed No 15 jersey for Australia A in final tour match

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Melbourne Rebels scrumhalf James Tuttle has been named to lead Australia A in their final match against the Japan XV in Osaka on Friday night.

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He will wear the number nine jersey and partner NSW playmaker Ben Donaldson who will start at flyhalf for the second time during the three-game series.

Twenty-Test Wallaby Tom Banks will start at fullback after making a successful return to the field last weekend via the bench from a broken arm. He’ll join NSW Waratahs excitement machine Mark Nawaqanitawase and flyer Suliasi Vunivalu in the back three.

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An all-international front row sees Tom Robertson pack down at loosehead with hooker Lachlan Lonergan returning the side and Pone Fa’amausili the tighthead prop.

The versatile Ned Hanigan shifts into the second row alongside Queensland favourite Ryan Smith.

A rejigged back row sees Rory Scott earn his first start of the tour at blindside flanker, with Brad Wilkin maintaining a hold on the number seven jersey. Seru Uru is another who starts for the first time in Japan, anchoring the scrum at number eight.

Coach Jason Gilmore has also selected a new midfield pairing with fresh Force recruit Hamish Stewart and his former Queensland teammate Isaac Henry named at inside and outside centre respectively.

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Brumbies youngster Billy Pollard shifts back to the bench as the reserve hooker with Richie Asiata filling the unfamiliar role of the finishing loosehead prop. NSW’s Archer Holz is the replacement tighthead.

Wallabies lock Cadeyrn Neville moves to a finishing role with Perth’s Ollie Callan recalled to the 23 for Friday’s match.

After captaining the side in the first two games, Ryan Lonergan has been named to inject some energy as the reserve scrumhalf, with last weekend’s match-winner, Tane Edmed, set to get some game time as the replacement playmaker. His club teammate Dylan Pietsch will cover the remaining backs and rounds out the match-day 23.

The final game of Australia A’s tour to Japan will kick off at 8:30pm AEDT on Friday evening from Yodoko Sakura Stadium in Osaka.

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Australia A: Tom Banks, Suliasi Vunivalu, Isaac Henry, Hamish Stewart, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ben Donaldson, James Tuttle, Seru Uru, Brad Wilkin, Rory Scott, Ryan Smith, Ned Hanigan, Pone Fa’amausili, Lachlan Lonergan, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Billy Pollard, Richie Asiata, Archer Holz, Cadeyrn Neville, Ollie Callan, Ryan Lonergan, Tane Edmed, Dylan Pietsch.

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