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ARU announces team changes after World Cup

Following Team Australia's unsuccessful campaign in the Rugby World Cup the ARU has announced several changes for the forthcoming test series with a number of veterans being dropped from the team.

Tighthead prop Joe Hockey has announced his retirement following a string of poor performances during the tournament. Hockey's persistent problem with dislodging his head after the ball had left the scrum had begun to make him a liability for the team. Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz have also been dropped due to poor form.

The biggest news however is the sacking of coach Peta Credlin and team captain Tony Abbott. Credlin and Abbott have shouldered most of the blame for the team's poor World Cup performance, with their insistence on concentrating play on the right side of the field, leaving the team badly exposed to the left and centre.

Abbott's successor Mal Turnbull moves from the left wing to inside centre, in what many see as a drastic change of position but one necessary in order for him to take on the captaincy.

The decision to change captains has led to a dispute with the team sponsor News Ltd. The ARU are currently looking at a number of options including the possibility of rebranding Team Australia as Mal's Minions and doing a deal with Fairfax. Even if an agreement is reached the ARU appears certain to go ahead with their proposal for a 15% surcharge on all refreshments served at games to help cover members' expenses.

Peter Dutton remains at fullback despite scoring a number of own goals during the tournament, an achievement previously thought impossible in rugby union. Dutton retains his position largely due to his effectiveness at stopping opposing players from non-European backgrounds entering team Australia's half, albeit through the use of excessively brutal and legally dubious means.

The departure of Andrews and Abetz sees the team losing two of their harder and more experienced right wings. That position now goes to Scott Morrison, who many see as Australia's new hope on the right wing. Morrison is also (excluding Dutton) the team's only successful goal kicker, albeit through the use of excessively brutal and legally dubious means.

Outside centre Julie Bishop remains as vice-captain. Despite overseas commitments limiting her opportunities to be noticed on the field, she is one of the few team members to get through the season without regularly dropping the ball.

Nationals players Warren Truss (number-eight), Barnaby Joyce (blindside flanker) and Nigel Scullion (openside flanker), will remain as lose forwards allowing them to break from the pack when necessary.

Under Turnbull's captaincy a number of women have been promoted to the front row with Marise Payne (tighthead prop), Sussan Ley (loosehead prop) and Michaelia Cash (hooker) coming into the starting lineup. Selectors are hoping Cash's extravagant hairdo and regular outbursts will help to disorientate the opposition front row and allow Team Australia to win more ball in the scrummages.

Opposition captain Bill Shorten says his team will announce their positions once they have gained more insight into what the spectators are cheering for.

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