CENTRE Morgan Turinui has been called in to Australia's World Cup squad as a shock replacement for injured No.8 David Lyons.
Turinui's call-up, two years after playing the last of his 20 Tests, has been largely prompted by the concern surrounding injured playmaker Stephen Larkham.
The former Wallabies vice-captain will fly to France on Wednesday and arrive in Marseille two days before Saturday's quarter-final clash against England.
Lyons was ruled out of the tournament on the weekend after breaking his leg and also suffering a suspected ankle dislocation in the 37-6 win over Canada in Bordeaux.
The Australian selectors have opted against replacing the 117kg back rower with another forward as they look to cover the possible loss of Larkham who is recovering from knee surgery.
They considered calling in a five-eighth like New South Wales young gun Kurtley Beale but decided an inside centre was essential with the dynamic Matt Giteau viewed at best back-up to rookie playmaker Berrick Barnes.
Connolly said Turinui was one of three No.12s considered with Queensland-bound surprise Chris Siale and Western Force convert Ryan Cross.
"With Stephen in a bit of doubt and Scotty Staniforth with a knock we thought we were a bit dodgy in the inside backs," the coach said.
"We were relatively happy with Ryan Cross's Super 14 form but he's a bit inexperienced at 12 and Morgan's experience got him the nod."
Barnes will start Saturday's quarter-final against England in Marseille and is firming to hold the reins through the rest of the tournament.
The 33-year-old Larkham is set to resume running this week after a second arthroscopy in eight days but he would have gone six weeks without a game if fit to play a possible semi-final against New Zealand.
Turinui, despite confronting a career crossroads which has seen him leave NSW for Queensland in 2008, is still young at 25.
He was a member of the 2003 World Cup squad but made more of a name for himself during that campaign by pocketing a six-figure Melbourne Cup windfall when he picked the first four horses in order.
Turinui has showed strong Australian Rugby Championship form for the Sydney Fleet at an opportune time for the centre long renowned for his rugby brain.
Turinui should be aware of any challenge that may arise if Barnes or Giteau get injured as, until now, he's been keeping an internet blog on the Wallabies campaign.
What were they thinking. I would have gone either Beale or Cross, Turini is just another Baxter you see him on the bench but you don't want to use him.