Wallaby Test places up for grabs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallaby Test places up for grabs

By Paul Mulvey 31/10/2004 08:46:42 PM Comments (0)

The fringe Wallabies have no time to waste to push their claims with possibly a dozen Test places up for grabs on the first couple of days of Australia's rugby tour of Britain and France.

Coach Eddie Jones names his first Test team in 11 weeks on Wednesday for the opening match of the tour against Scotland at Murrayfield and said no more than three players were guaranteed their place.

"We'll see how people brush up after travel and training on Monday and Tuesday but in this team, apart from two or three positions, there's a battle on for every position.

"It's really quite healthy," Jones said after his 28 man squad arrived in London for the four Test tour, which includes two matches against the Scots and one each against France and England.

"Obviously the three things to look at are historical form, training when we've played a couple of simulated games and the potential to play well.

"There's a couple of guys who are obviously stand out in their position and it'd take something very untoward for them not to be picked in their position."

While captain and halfback George Gregan, five eighth Stephen Larkham, loosehead prop Bill Young and most likely winger Lote Tuqiri and centre Stirling Mortlock would be among Jones' certainties, competition elsewhere is strong.

Wallabies' player of the year David Lyons is under pressure from John Roe for his spot at No.8 while Jones still tosses up whether to go for the predatory pair Phil Waugh and George Smith as the breakaway combination or opt for Radike Samo's height in the lineout.

"The backrow's an interesting one. We've said all along we need to get another jumper in there and that hasn't changed," Jones said.

"But we've also got to pick the best players, so we can't be compromising significantly in one area for another area. So it's a balance in terms of selection."

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