A bomb blast that killed at least nine people at New Delhi’s High Court was a “terrorist attack,” according to Home Minister P Chidambaram.

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“The government unequivocally condemns the terrorist attack that took place today,” he said in a statement to the lower house of parliament on Wednesday.

An explosion outside India’s High Court in New Delhi killed at least ten people, the BBC reported.

Indian investigators say they have received an email, purportedly from an Islamist militant group active in South Asia, claiming responsibility for the blast.

The director general of the National Investigation Agency, said the email claimed to be from the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) which has been linked to previous attacks on Indian soil.

Police spokesman Mohamed Akhalaque said the blast took place soon after 10am on Wednesday.

The explosion shook the courthouse, sending lawyers and judges fleeing outside, said Sanjiv Narula, a lawyer who was in the building.

The court buildings were evacuated as police blocked off the entire area and emergency services rushed the injured, some of them in a serious condition, to hospital.

“It appears that the bomb was in a suitcase because we have the remains of that suitcase,” Home Secretary RK Singh told CNN-IBN television

Indian television showed images of ambulances taking the wounded from the scene. At least 45 people are believed to have been injured.

The blast happened mid-morning near a large crowd of people lined up in front of a reception counter near the entrance to the court building.

Rahul Gupta, a petitioner whose case was listed for a hearing Wednesday, told Agence France-Presse more than 100 people were in a queue at the reception when the blast happened.

“Then there was a huge explosion. I saw a lot of people lying around in a pool of blood,” he said.

People ran to the blast site to assist the injured, piling them into auto-rickshaws to take them to the hospital.

Ambulances and forensic teams rushed to the scene, along with sniffer dogs and a bomb disposal unit, apparently checking for any further explosives.

“There was smoke everywhere. People were running. People were shouting. There was blood everywhere. It was very, very scary,” said Sangeeta Sondhi, a lawyer who was parking her car near the gate when the bomb exploded.

It’s the second blast to hit the Indian High Court this year.

Home Ministry official UK Bansal said the blast appeared to have been caused by a medium intensity bomb possibly hidden in a briefcase.

Cyber-transparency activist Julian Assange says he’s launching a career in television, hosting what he’s billing as a new brand of talk show built around the theme of “the world tomorrow.

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The show’s guests haven’t been disclosed, but Assange has promised to give viewers more of what he’s been supplying for years: controversy.

The WikiLeaks secret-spilling site said in a statement released late on Monday that “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” would be brought in so that Assange could challenge them on their vision of world affairs and “their ideas on how to secure a brighter future.”

The world of television talk shows is a new one for the 40-year-old Australian, whose group has orchestrated the biggest mass-disclosures of secret documents in US history.

But the statement argued that Assange was uniquely qualified for the role given his past as “a pioneer for a more just world and a victim of political repression.”

Ellis Cashmore, an expert on celebrity culture at England’s Staffordshire University, wasn’t so sure. “Assange has got a good, deep voice and agreeable Aussie accent, but he’s a slow, deliberate talker and not especially televisual,” Cashmore said in an email.

“To be true to his image, he would have to make his proposed show subversive; and that might not appeal to many would-be guests.” WikiLeaks said that the show would begin airing in mid-March, although how the show will be produced and who will carry it are open questions.

It’s not even clear Assange will be free to host the show. He’s currently fighting extradition to Sweden, where he’s wanted over sex crimes allegations, and US officials are still weighing possible charges linked to his attention-grabbing leaks.

In its statement WikiLeaks referred queries about the series to the hitherto obscure Quick Roll Productions, whose website carried no indication of where the group was based or who was managing it.

An online records search indicated that Quick Roll’s site was created about two weeks ago.

Neither Quick Roll nor WikiLeaks returned emails seeking further details on their project.

The Prime Minister has denied that her security detail overreacted when dragging her from a heated protest in Canberra yesterday.

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Photographs showed the Prime Minister almost falling to the ground as she and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott fled a Canberra restaurant which had become surrounded by protesters from the nearby Aboriginal tent embassy.

“The police did an amazing job”, Ms Gillard said.

Ms Gillard said she was ‘very angry’ at the disruption to an Australia Day event, however.

“Ive got absolutely no troubles at all with peaceful protest…what I utterly condemn is when the protests turn violent…as they did yesterday.”

Protesters have denied the use of violence, saying the police overreacted both in their treatment of activists, and in their heavy-handed treatment of the PM herself.

Spokesman Mark McMurtie told the ABC the police were to blame for the violence.

“The only violence you can see came from the police, don’t say it was a violent protest, it was a violent reaction to the protest.”

The PM also said she was unaware of claims on a Sydney radio claiming that a member of her staff tipped off protesters to the fact that Mr Abbott was in the nearby restaurant

ABBOTT STANDS FIRM

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, meanwhile, is standing by the comments that whipped protesters into a frenzy on Australia Day.

He’s also been backed by some senior indigenous leaders who’ve slammed protesters for reacting violently to “pretty timid” remarks.

Activists continue to blame Mr Abbott for inciting their protest after he suggested they “move on” from issues that gave birth to the Aboriginal tent embassy outside Old Parliament House this day 40 years ago.

Interpreted as a sign he wanted to tear down the makeshift settlement, an angry crowd of 200 people trapped the prime minister and Mr Abbott in a restaurant, prompting a chaotic escape in which Ms Gillard stumbled and lost a shoe.

Mr Abbott on Friday said some in the protest group had “verballed” him.

“As a result, it stirred people up,” he told Macquarie Radio.

‘THINGS HAVE MOVED ON’

He stood by his original comments, saying it wasn’t true that indigenous policy had been neglected or the government was indifferent to the plight of Aboriginal people.

“That might have been true 40 years ago. It certainly isn’t true today.”

Former ALP national president and indigenous leader Warren Mundine said the activists had over-reacted.

“The words were pretty timid,” he told ABC Radio, noting Mr Abbott hadn’t said anything about shutting down the embassy.

“He echoed words I would have echoed.”

Mr Mundine said the tent embassy was an appropriate symbol for the indigenous fight when it was set up in 1972 in an appeal for land rights.

“But quite frankly it is irrelevant to the mainstream of Aboriginal people today and it has been for the last 20 years,” he said.

Indigenous social justice commissioner Mick Gooda agreed.

“Back in 1970s we needed this sort of stuff to raise the issue, but the issue is fairly and squarely on the agenda.”

“Vent your frustrations and your anger, but do it in a peaceful way,” he said in a message to protesters.

“Do it in a way that befits Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

But Mr McMurtrie insists Mr Abbott’s words incited the afternoon’s events.

“He made the comments in an inciteful and smug manner in Sydney and then flies several hundred kilometres to come down and sit 100 metres from us,” he said.

“It’s akin to us going to the cenotaph on Anzac Day and asking you to pull that down.”

Meanwhile, protesters have offered to return Ms Gillard’s right blue wedge heeled shoe as a gesture of friendship.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s Facebook page originally posted the stolen shoe would be returned in exchange for stolen land.

“Julia will be eligible to make a shoe title claim which will take approximately 20 years,” it said.

“This will be dependant on Julia being able to show continuous connection with the shoe.”

Ms Gillard is in Melbourne on Friday to present some more national emergency medals.

(Transcript from World News Radio)

A United Nations report has outlined some progress in addressing sexual violence in the world’s conflict zones.

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But it has identified 45 armed groups in 19 countries as probably being responsible for rape or other acts of sexual violence.

And it highlights what it calls a disturbing new trend of extremist groups using sexual violence against women and girls as a tactic of terro

Van Nguyen has the details.

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

Zeinab Hawa Bangura assumed her role as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict three years ago.

She could hardly have imagined how heart-breaking her mission would be.

Ms Bangura has told the UN Security Council the world should be shocked by the Secretary-General’s latest report, outlining incidents in 19 conflict situations.

“Sexual violence in conflict represents a great moral issue of our time and it merits the concerted focus of the Security Council. This crime in its destruction of the individual and the pervasive way that it undermines the prospect of peace and development casts a long shadow over our collective humanity.”

Still, Ms Bangura believes the fight to eradicate sexual violence in conflict situations is not a mission impossible, thanks to some tangible and positive changes.

“Our knowledge, analysis and information is deeper and serves as a basis for strategic interventions at all levels. Greater resources have been dedicated for sexual and gender-based violence programming on the ground than ever before. Although the resources still fall far short of the challenges we face, we’re finally beginning to see some accountablity for a crime.

United States ambassador Michele Sison acknowledges the positive changes.

However, she agrees much remains to be done.

“Across the world, we are through leadership programs, small grants and professional training to demand better, safer lives through legislation that protects the rights of women and men from gender-based violence. Unfortunately, there are gaps in many local justice systems and international accountability that must be remedied in order to hold all perpetrators accountable.”

Michele Sison is also concerned that groups such as Boko Haram and the self-declared Islamic State are using sexual and gender-based violence as a strategy.

“These groups utilise conflict related sexual violence not only to terrorise women and children, but as a war tactic to suppress opposition and to punish those whose beliefs differ. Sexual and gender based violence has become an engrained aspect of their overall strategy for controlling territory, destroying the social fabric and recruiting new supporters.”

Another speaker addressing the Council was Hamsatu Allamin, of the Non-Governmental Organization Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.

She says empowerment of women and girls is an important part of addressing the problem of sexual violence in conflict zones.

“I am here to implore the Security Council – and the international community – to develop integrated solutions in partnership with women’s groups and service providers. These solutions should prevent conflict-related sexual violence, protect those at risk, provide conprehensive support to survivors, promote gender perspective and women’s voices, prosecute those responsible and take action to strengthen the rights of women and girls.”

Hamsatu Allamin says more also needs to be done to end sexual violence by various armed extremist groups.

“State and non-State armed groups in my country as in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Burma and many other places are perpetrating acts of sexual and gender-based violence on women, girls, men and boys. This has a devastating impact on sustainable peace and development. In Iraq, sexual and gender-based violence committed by extremist groups, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, may amount to crimes against humanity. Likewise, in my country, Nigeria, witnesses reported that dozens of women, who had been previously married to insurgents, were killed by their ‘husbands’ to prevent them from escaping or being rescued and eventually marrying other soldiers or other so-called non-believers.”

Britain’s Deputy UN Ambassador Peter Wilson says the UN Secretary-General’s report has provided a vital framework for action.

“If we are to end sexual violence in conflict, we must tackle its root causes as well as its symptoms. We all have a responsibility to end gender inequality and descrimination in our societies and in this Council, we have a unique responsibility to prevent conflict that allows sexual violence to thrive.”

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Zeinab Hawa Bangura, says she’s hoping the latest report will result in action, not just promises.

“As the report states, the era of silence has been replaced by international recognition that the shame of rape presides not in the victim but in the perpetrators. And any party that seeks to condone or conceal their conduct, the history of warzone rape has been one of denial. It is time to bring these crimes, and those who commit them, into the spotlight of international scrutiny and to send a clear message that the world will not tolerate the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war and terror.”

 

 

At the time, Van Gaal’s Manchester United were pleasing nobody, stodgy and struggling, but a run of six straight, ever more convincing wins sees them march to Mourinho’s Chelsea fortress on Saturday with the master ready to beat his pupil for the first time.

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If Van Gaal could orchestrate Chelsea’s third league defeat of the season and move within five points of the leaders — albeit having played a game more than the Londoners — it could yet inject a smidgen of uncertainty into a race which was beginning to resemble a Chelsea procession.

Especially because Arsenal, currently seven points behind Chelsea but having a weekend off from Premier League duty to concentrate on their FA Cup defence, will then host the leaders the following Sunday.

Alternatively, it could be the start of the race’s decisive week because if Chelsea win both matches, they will be effectively home and hosed, ready to savour their first title since 2010.

Van Gaal will have other ideas. The Dutchman, who gave Mourinho his big break when he was coach of Barcelona and trusted his young assistant to the extent that Mourinho would occasionally take training and give team talks, has yet to beat his protege in managerial combat.

Famously, Mourinho’s Inter Milan beat Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich 2-0 in the 2010 Champions League final and, when they met at Old Trafford in October, only a late, late Robin van Persie goal earned United a 1-1 draw in a game Chelsea should have won.

Now, though, United are flying and their former England full back Gary Neville, now a highly-respected TV analyst, says that, though it will be the “toughest test” yet for Van Gaal, United’s performances this past month would be “absolutely outstanding in any season”.

Following the most outstanding, their 4-2 derby mauling of Manchester City, the deflated champions cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves as they seek to consolidate their critical fourth place in the table with Sunday’s visit of West Ham.

Southampton can leapfrog Liverpool, who have FA Cup business this weekend, and move into sixth place if they beat 10th-placed Stoke City

Meanwhile, the fascinating battle for Premier League survival sees bottom club Leicester City aim to continue their resurgence when hosting Swansea City, while Burnley, just a point ahead of Leicester, travel to 12th-placed Everton.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

Arsenal, winners of 16 of their last 18 matches in all competitions and victorious over Reading in all 12 competitive meetings, will be overwhelming favourites to face Liverpool or Aston Villa in an all-Premier League final on May 30.

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Arsenal’s run of eight successive wins, which has surprised even manager Arsene Wenger, has opened up an outside chance of the League and Cup double as they have climbed to second in the table, albeit still seven points behind Chelsea.

About the only thing in Reading’s favour is the FA Cup’s enduring capacity to deliver the most unlikely upsets, as illustrated by third tier Bradford City’s stunning 4-2 fourth-round win at Chelsea in January after trailing 2-0.

Reading’s task is just as daunting as Steve Clarke’s men have dropped to 18th in the second tier Championship and are without a win in their last five league matches.

Arsenal not only have form on their side but history and tradition. This will be their record-equalling 27th semi-final, while it is Reading’s first since their sole appearance in the last four 88 years ago.

The nearest Reading ever came to beating the Gunners was in an amazing League Cup tie in October 2012 when Arsenal came from 4-0 down to make it 4-4 with two goals in the last two minutes and went on to win 7-5 after extra time.

The history between Liverpool and Aston Villa is far more complex, stretching back over 188 matches to 1894 with Liverpool winning almost half their games and Villa only victorious in one of their eight FA Cup meetings.

All of Liverpool’s seven FA Cup triumphs have come since the last of Villa’s successes in 1957, but Sunday’s semi looks a closer call than it did a few weeks ago.

Liverpool’s league aspirations were derailed by recent successive defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal while the off-field antics of striker Raheem Sterling, videoed using laughing gas and pictured with a shisha pipe, cannot have helped manager Brendan Rodgers’ peace of mind either.

In contrast, Villa have been rejuvenated since Tim Sherwood took over as manager from Paul Lambert in February and, although they are still in a relegation fight, their 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur last week was self-assured and well-deserved.

Christian Benteke has rediscovered his scoring form with eight goals in six games since Sherwood arrived, and although Liverpool are fifth and still chasing a Champions League place, they will have to play well to book a second final appearance in four seasons.

(Editing by Ian Chadband)

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs has defended Noel Pearson’s about-face on constitutional recognition of indigenous people, and says the idea of having a proposed declaration should be debated.

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Nigel Scullion says the plan advocated by Mr Pearson is not a watering down of the push for recognition, nor is it splitting the support for constitutional recognition.

“It involves substantial legislative change. It also involves support for the removal of section 25 in the Constitution, so he’s not doing everything outside of the Constitution,” he told reporters on Elcho Island.

Section 25 permits state laws to prevent a group from voting on the basis of race.

“We need innovative ideas, we need new ideas, it shouldn’t be static,” Senator Scullion said.

“All ideas should come into the pot for a proper discussion about how best to reflect the true history of Australia.”

Mr Pearson this week backed an idea for a declaration separate to the Constitution and with no legal power, the words of which would be chosen through a national competition and voted on at a referendum to be used at national, religious and civil events.

The day of its adoption could become a public holiday to celebrate indigenous people.

Mr Pearson has warned that the current bipartisan push for constitutional change would never be accepted by conservatives.

The government has been consulting for five years on constitutional recognition, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott suggesting 2017 for the referendum.

“I think all Australians believe we need a change in our founding document to reflect the fact that the first Australians were here, the various nations they controlled, and to pay tribute to our first Australians,” Senator Scullion said.

“After that adjustment I think many Australians would feel that is a completion of the document.”

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett says Darius Boyd is on track for a “remarkable” ahead-of-schedule NRL return from injury.

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The Broncos recruit has ramped up his involvement at training in recent weeks and is likely to be available for selection inside the six-month timeframe initially laid down when he suffered a serious Achilles injury in pre-season.

Bennett was full of praise for Boyd and his application to his rehab program, saying his dedication levels were on par with the greatest players he has ever coached.

“He’s been remarkable,” Bennett said on Thursday.

“He’s such a dedicated athlete and it’s a credit to him.

“He’s on track to come back before the six months at the moment and that’ll be a miracle in itself.

“It’s just a case of when. He’s doing everything now and it’s just a bit more time.”

Boyd and the Broncos had circled the round 13 clash with Manly as the Queensland Origin star’s return date, but his comeback is now likely to be brought forward.

But nothing about the 27-year-old’s progress comes as a surprise to Bennett, who believes Boyd’s teenage years spent at the Broncos around the likes of Darren Lockyer have clearly rubbed off on him.

“He’s as good a player as I’ve ever coached in his application to everything,” Bennett said.

“Locky was outstanding in that regard as well.

“You’ve got to understand, Darius came here as a young man and was influenced by all that.

“He was 18 and Locky and them were at the heights of their playing (career). He’s smart, he always learns off people.”

In more pressing injury matters for Bennett, three Brisbane players – returning skipper Justin Hodges, the in-form Ben Hunt and fullback Lachlan Maranta – failed to complete Thursday’s session at Red Hill.

However, an unfazed Bennett said all three are still expected to play in Friday night’s clash with St George Illawarra.

“We’ve just got guys with some niggles, we’re trying to get them off their feet today and make sure they can play tomorrow,” he said.

“We’re seven weeks into the season, it kind of goes with the territory.

“There’s a few players with viruses too, it’s that time of year. It’s all starting to happen.”

Bernard Foley has no burnout fears despite securing a flexible contract with the Australian Rugby Union that allows the Wallabies playmaker two seasons in Japan while also carrying on with the NSW Waratahs.

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Foley is the first player granted such a deal as the ARU tries to head off a mass player exodus after this year’s Rugby World Cup.

The deal locks Foley in with the Waratahs until the end of 2018 and also frees the 25-year-old up to play for a Japanese club after the Rugby World Cup and again after next year’s Rugby Championship.

Foley will effectively be playing rugby all year round for at least the next two years, but says the high-tech monitoring of players’ welfare and conditioning has him equipped for the gruelling workload.

“Every day we’re logging in about our welfare,” he said on Thursday.

“We’ve got monitors on our back saying every metre we run.

“It obviously comes down to myself as well, putting myself in the right position and looking after myself to get through the workloads that are going to be required.

“I know by body.”

Foley’s recommitment to Australian rugby comes after his Wallabies and Waratahs halves partner and housemate Nick Phipps signed a deal in December to stay until the end of 2017.

Test captain Michael Hooper, along with fellow Wallabies Rob Horne, Benn Robinson and Paddy Ryan have also recommitted to the Waratahs beyond the World Cup.

Waratahs chief Greg Harris hailed Foley’s retention as a coup and hoped the likes of Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale and skipper Dave Dennis will also stay.

“Bernard is an outstanding talent and an integral part of our team,” Harris said.

“It is essential for the Waratahs that we lock away the spine of the team and retaining Bernard, along with Nick Phipps, is a crucial part of this exercise.”

Goalkicking playmaker Foley was a key figure in the Waratahs’ maiden Super Rugby title triumph last year.

He and Phipps have also been the first-choice Wallabies halves combination under Waratahs and Australia coach Michael Cheika.

Tony Abbott has laid out his agenda for a meeting of the nation’s leaders in Canberra on Friday, but the premiers have other ideas.

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The prime minister believes the real issues confronting the Council of Australian Governments are domestic violence, national security and the ice epidemic.

“They want to be safe in their own homes, they want to be safe and secure in their streets and they want to know that young people … are not having their lives absolutely destroyed because of exposure to ice and other illicit drugs,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

The worthy aim is likely to be at odds with the agendas of a hostile bunch of new and old premiers.

Colin Barnett’s perennial “whinge from the west” about his state’s share of the GST revenue pool is more desperate this time around.

Faced with sliding royalties from a steep drop in iron ore prices and the risk of another credit rating downgrade, WA wants more money than the paltry 30 cents in the GST dollar being offered under the Grant Commission’s formula for 2015/16.

“It’s like we have a second-class citizen in Australia called Western Australians,” the premier said.

But he’s likely to find few friends around the COAG table, with other leaders equally determined to hang on to their share.

That doesn’t surprise Mr Abbott, who said any state facing the same prospect as WA would be screaming “blue, bloody murder”.

The prime minister will give premiers a “polite” hearing over the GST, but has told the them to grow up and sort it out among themselves.

The premiers will argue the case for more money after $80 billion was cut from their hospitals and schools funding in the 2014 federal budget.

The COAG meeting will look a little different to the previous one in October.

It will be the first meeting for both Victorian premier Daniel Andrews – already at odds with Mr Abbott over ditching the East West Link – and Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The Labor pair replaced coalition premiers – natural Abbott allies – in state elections.

ACT Labor Chief Minister Andrew Barr is also making his first appearance as well, after replacing Katy Gallagher who’s now in the Senate.

Geelong coach Chris Scott expects Steven Motlop to return to AFL action a better player and a better person having served a one-match club ban.

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The star midfielder was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Cats were trounced by Fremantle last weekend after being sanctioned for drinking alcohol three weeks before the season opener against Hawthorn.

The Cats will field a stronger lineup on Sunday against Gold Coast – another team which has started the season with two straight losses – as Motlop returns alongside Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel, who has recovered after being concussed against the Hawks.

But big Dawson Simpson is a definite omission as Scott searches for a more mobile ruck division against athletic Sun Zac Smith.

Also out are suspended utility Billie Smedts and star defender Andrew Mackie, who faces several weeks on the sidelines with a quad strain.

Motlop returns after convincing Scott and the Cats coaching staff that his alcohol-based infraction was an isolated incident.

“Steve is quite an unique individual,” Scott said on Thursday.

“We really believe in treating every individual just as that within our footy club,

“He is an outstanding trainer, he’s a fantastic athlete and prepares himself to play AFL football generally extraordinarily well.

In this instance he made a horrible decision that he’s extremely embarrassed about.

“The part that I’m proud of, on Steve’s behalf and also our footy club, is the way it’s been handled and more importantly, the way he’s bounced back.

“He’s stood up, he took responsibility for it, he accepts he let the team down badly.

“I think he’s going to be a better player and a better person because of this issue and I hope it happens really quickly this Sunday.”

The Cats have been outclassed in their opening two encounters against Hawthorn and Fremantle, but Scott was loath to see it as part of a wider malaise.

“We need to improve and improve quickly but the two teams we have played have been pretty hot, they’re going to beat most teams this year I would suspect,” he said.

“We’ll work out way into a position, I hope, where if we get the chance to play them again, we’ll play better.”

The Brumbies have sprung a surprise by benching Wallabies halfback Nic White for their Super Rugby clash with the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday.

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White’s spot has gone to his backup Michael Dowsett who will make his starting debut.

White had an unusually patchy game for the Australian conference leaders in their 16-14 loss to the Blues in Auckland last Friday night.

But the Brumbies insisted that wasn’t the reason he’s been benched.

“It’s always been on the agenda to give Whitey a freshen-up,” said assistant coach Dan McKellar.

“His game last week doesn’t have anything to do with the selection.

“It’s just about keeping guys fresh, and making sure that guys aren’t just constantly sitting on the pine.

“Michael Dowsett is a contracted player and we’ve got to back him, and we’ve got full confidence he’ll do a really good job on Saturday.”

Havingr fielded an unchanged side for the first month of the competition, injury has taken grip and forced the Brumbies into a number of other changes.

Christian Lealiifano moves in one position to flyhalf in place of the injured Matt Toomua, with Nigel Ah Wong making his first start for 2015 at inside centre.

Lausii Taliauli will start on the wing in place of the injured James Dargaville.

Up front, JP Smith replaces injured loosehead prop Scott Sio, while rising star Rory Arnold returns at lock with Blake Enever dropping to the bench.

Jordan Smiler and Ita Vaea remain on the bench for extra backrow cover in a six-two forwards-backs split, while bench midfielder Rodney Iona is a chance to play his first Super Rugby match since debuting against the Waratahs last season.

Brumbies: Robbie Coleman; Lausii Taliauli, Henry Speight, Nigel Ah Wong, Joe Tomane; Christian Lealiifano, Michael Dowsett; Jarrad Butler, David Pocock, Scott Fardy; Sam Carter, Rory Arnold; Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, JP Smith. Reserves: Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Ruan Smith, Blake Enever, Ita Vaea, Jordan Smiler, Nic White, Rodney Iona.

The AFL’s substitute rule should be scrapped because it has never been a part of the game, Adelaide coach Phil Walsh says.

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As Sydney great Adam Goodes opted for the reserves rather than another appearance in an AFL substitute vest, Walsh wants no substitute at all.

“I’m not on a crusade,” Walsh told reporters.

“I don’t like the sub.”

The first-year head coach said the substitute has never been a part of Australian Rules football before being introduced in 2011.

“I know the AFL is looking at reviewing it. I’ll be interested to see what they come up with,” he said.

“It’s a bit like the interchange – I don’t think it’s part of our game, as simple as that. It has never been in the game.

“The sub was brought in to even it out if you got an injury early.

“My argument is, just bring the interchange cap back and then you don’t have to worry about it.

“But I’m only a second game coach. So I’m not trying to drive an agenda. That is just my opinion.”

Walsh, who also wants a reduction in the interchange cap of 120 a game, has a policy that none of his Crows will be the substitute in consecutive games.

Swans star Goodes would approve, given he’s volunteered to be dropped from the AFL in favour of a full work-out at reserves level.

The dual Brownlow medallist experienced just 15 frustrating minutes of game-time as an AFL sub last weekend.

Sydney coach John Longmire said he was “more than happy to play him as a sub again” against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.

“But he suggested to play reserves, get some quality game time, get some form and fitness back and be able to push for senior selection after that,” Longmire told reporters on Thursday.

“He thought that was probably the way to go.”

Some pundits, including ex-teammate Jude Bolton, questioned whether the 35-year-old Goodes had extended his AFL career by one season too many.

But Longmire said Goodes remained much valued and retirement hadn’t been discussed.

“We want him to keep going and he’s keen to keep going,” Longmire said.

“And as we sit here at the moment, we still think he’s got a valuable role to play for us this year because he finished last season off for us quite strongly.

“We’re only round three. There’s a lot of football to go and things can change quickly as far as injury and form (is concerned).

“We’re certainly mindful of that and so is Adam. Things can change in a heartbeat.”