Wallabies draft in Mitchell Chapman - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies draft in Mitchell Chapman

By Darren Walton 07/11/2006 06:10:15 AM Comments (0)

Former Australian schoolboys captain Mitchell Chapman has answered an SOS call from Wallabies coach John Connolly to join the spring tourists in Europe.

With Test star Dan Vickerman sent home on Sunday for a shoulder reconstruction and a decision on whether Hugh McMeniman will join him to be made in the next 24 hours, the Wallabies' forward stocks are being stretched to the limit.

Al Kanaar had been the selectors' first choice to join the Wallabies in Rome ahead of Saturday's Test against Italy but the NSW second-rower is still recovering from ankle surgery.

Fellow Waratahs lock Will Caldwell was next in line until breaking his arm in the Prime Minister's XV's 65-19 win over Japan at the weekend, prompting Connolly to plump for 23-year-old Chapman.

The Sydney-born Queensland Red edged out Prime Minister XV second-rower Pat O'Connor because of his versatility.

Chapman can play No.8, flanker or in the second row with equal ability and will get his first chance to impress in Wallabies colours in next Tuesday's mid-week match against Ireland A in Limerick.

Test lock Nathan Sharpe said it was a big opportunity to Chapman 10 months out from the World Cup in France.

"You always like to have your full-strength side on the park but the beauty of a tour like this is that it provides opportunities for guys to play and step up and put their best foot forward, especially coming up to a World Cup," Sharpe said.

"There might be a few queries over certain people in a 30-man squad, so it gives selectors and the coach a chance to have a look at everyone so that when they do pick a World Cup squad they've got the right people."

McMeniman's recovery from a neck injury suffered in last week's 24-16 loss to the Ospreys has been slower than the Wallabies management had hoped for and Western Force back-rower Scott Fava is on standby in case he becomes the latest tour casualty.

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