Wallabies squad to be finalised Thursday - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies squad to be finalised Thursday

By Adrian Warren 11/08/2008 08:21:13 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will solve the remaining riddles over his backrow and fullback dilemmas on Thursday when he unveils the squad for Australia's two Tri Nations rugby Tests in South Africa.

A squad of 28 for the matches in Durban on August 23 and Johannesburg on August 30 will be finalised after injury assessments.

The 30 current members of the squad assemble in Sydney for a two-day camp prior to heading to South Africa on Friday morning.

The two lingering injury concerns surround flanker Rocky Elsom and fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Blindside flanker Elsom missed last Saturday week's loss to New Zealand due to a ligament strain in his left foot.

Fullback Ashley-Cooper, who scored Australia's only try in that loss to the All Blacks underwent surgery last Tuesday on a hand he broke in the match at Eden Park.

Western Force outside back Drew Mitchell is looming as the likely replacement should Ashley-Cooper not be fit for the first South African Test.

Fullback has become something of a trouble spot for the selectors following long term injuries to Chris Latham, Cameron Shepherd and Julian Huxley.

Both players believe they should be right for at least the second game to be played at Ellis Park.

Irrespective of whether Elsom is fit, Deans could still reshuffle the backrow.

Australia struggled at both the breakdown and lineout against New Zealand and Deans could opt for a taller backrower like Hugh McMeniman or Dean Mumm, rather than again go with two specialist flyers in George Smith and Phil Waugh.

World champions South Africa, who thrashed Argentina 63-9 last weekend, play New Zealand in Cape Town on Saturday.

The two matches against Australia mean the Springboks will be fronting up for Tests over four straight weeks.

The title is still very much up for grabs, with New Zealand leading on 10 points.

However, the All Blacks have played four games, one more than both Australia (nine points) and South Africa (five).

South Africa play all three of their remaining games at home, while both of New Zealand's remaining fixtures are away.

Australia have just the one home game left against the All Blacks in Brisbane on September 13.

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