Green light likely for recovering Tuqiri - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Green light likely for recovering Tuqiri

By Laine Clark 22/09/2008 06:57:20 PM Comments (0)

Knee surgery is not expected to rule Wallabies winger Lote Tuqiri out of Australia's upcoming spring tour.

But NSW playmaker Kurtley Beale may not be cut as much slack as the dual international by Australian selectors despite finally reaching full fitness.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will announce his squad for the six-match tour on Tuesday.

There was speculation that Tuqiri would need to pass a fitness test in a month and only then would be added to the 33-strong touring outfit unveiled by Deans.

Tuqiri admitted last week that he could miss the tour of Hong Kong and Europe after having surgery last Monday to remove loose cartilage.

He faced six weeks of rehabilitation before returning to full training - not the best scenario when the Wallabies leave on October 27.

However, it is believed Tuqiri is now "reasonably confident" of making the tour.

An ARU spokesman on Monday said injury shouldn't deny Tuqiri - who turns 29 on Tuesday - a spring tour nod.

He said the fact that the Wallabies' first tour match was not until November 1 ensured time was on Tuqiri's side.

"At this stage he is available to be chosen for the touring squad - his fitness will be monitored over a period of time," the spokesman said.

"He has a month before the first game, a month to recuperate."

However Beale may not be given the same luxury due to his lack of game time.

Tuqiri carried his knee injury through this year's nine Tests.

Unfortunately for Beale, the NSW flyhalf has not played since the Waratahs' 20-12 Super 14 final loss to Deans' Crusaders in May due to injury.

Beale suffered an ankle injury in the final and then was further hampered by a broken hand suffered in the gym.

He was expected to be in the tour squad mix along with the likes of Queensland's Quade Cooper and even Western Force teenager James O'Conner as Deans looked to shore up depth in his inside backs.

But the ARU spokesman hinted that Beale's lack of match fitness may count against him.

"He is fit to play, but it's up to the selectors to decide whether he has had enough rugby under his belt to be considered," he said.

Cooper has fully recovered from surgery for a hip cartilage problem which ruled him out of the recent Queensland development tour to Ireland and France.

Reds coach Phil Mooney on Monday also confirmed Berrick Barnes was raring to go for the Wallabies after failing to take part in the Tri-Nations finale against New Zealand due to a shoulder injury.

The spring tour squad is expected to feature the Wallabies' 30-strong Tri-Nations outfit, albeit without departed forwards Dan Vickerman and Rocky Elsom.

The tour begins against the All Blacks - who have already retained the Bledisloe Cup - at Hong Kong on November 1.

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