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Moore tipped to start for Wallabies
By Russell Jackson
14:25 AEST Wed Nov 21 2012

Stephen Moore has ticked off a couple personal goals on the Wallabies' European tour but there's still one which has eluded him - and it's got nothing to do with rugby.

Australia's most capped Test hooker is expected to return to a starting role in Saturday's clash with Italy in Florence, his first run on start since the 22-0 loss to the All Blacks in Auckland in August.

The 29-year-old impressed after coming on for his 74th appearance in the second half of the 20-14 win over England at Twickenham last weekend, replacing Tatafu Polota-Nau who was substituted after some wayward lineout throwing.

The Brumbies star broke the appearance record when he came off the bench in the 33-6 loss to France in Paris two weeks ago, ending a frustrating wait for Moore who'd been locked on 72 Tests with Jeremy Paul.

He was set to leapfrog Paul in late September against South Africa but his hamstring injury flared when preparing for a Test against South Africa, causing him to miss the encounters with Argentina and the All Blacks.

While he's pleased to have worked his way back into the Wallabies side, there's another goal he'd love achieve on a European tour - watching his beloved English Premier League team Liverpool at Anfield.

"I've been following them for a fair while through thick and thin," Moore said.

"My dream is to one day get up to Anfield and watch them. It's a goal I'd like achieve one day.

"I've seen them about three or four times in London and saw them the other day against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge."

Moore is one of four expected changes for the clash with Italy.

Champion flanker David Pocock, who continues to battle a calf strain, isn't expected to make his long-awaited return with the in-form Michael Hooper likely to keep the No.7 jumper.

Hooper, who was man of the match against England, has missed a couple of training sessions this week along with captain Nathan Sharpe but both expected to be fit for this weekend.

The other three expected changes to the side that beat England are winger Drew Mitchell, flanker Scott Higginbotham and halfback Brett Sheehan.

"If I get the opportunity that would be great. I haven't played that much footy in the second half of this year and have been working hard to get back," Moore said.

"It's an important game for us because we've got in a pattern of putting in a good performance and following it up with a below par performance."

The Wallabies team will be announced on Thursday.

Likely team (15-1): Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins/Digby Ioane, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Brett Sheehan, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Sitaleki Timani, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson.

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