Tuqiri upbeat about tour prospects - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tuqiri upbeat about tour prospects

By Adrian Warren 29/09/2008 06:02:55 PM Comments (0)

Normally resilient winger Lote Tuqiri anticipates experiencing some rare injury stress, but remains optimistic of recovering from knee surgery in time for the Wallabies spring tour.

Tuqiri, who underwent surgery just over a week ago, has entered a camp in Sydney, along with the other 33 squad members selected for the six-match tour, which commences with a November 1 Bledisloe Cup clash with New Zealand in Hong Kong.

The 29-year-old Waratahs back said he probably wouldn't do any running this week.

"Just keep doing some rehab and strength and exercise and also upper body aerobic work, but (I'm) optimistic," Tuqiri said.

"I've got to be smart about it and listen to the doctor's advice and listen to my body as well.

"It's an interesting couple of weeks for me, probably stressful as well.

"I haven't had a major injury or coming back from an injury. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself."

Like Tuqiri, No.8 Wycliff Palu (knee) didn't train with the rest of the team.

However halfback Luke Burgess (knee) and inside centre Berrick Barnes (shoulder) returned to training, though neither is yet doing everything.

The injuries to Barnes and Burgess adversely affected Australia's tactical kicking in the latter stages of the Tri-Nations and along with defence was an area targeted for improvement by skipper and centre Stirling Mortlock.

"I think as a team we need to be better across the board and be able to share that load of kicking, that's always the case, but probably those injuries highlighted that," Mortlock said.

"Defensively, what we're trying to do as a team is quite different from where we have been in the past and probably that caught up with us toward the back end of the Tri-Nations I think, defensively we can certainly make inroads there.

"It's not about making massive changes, it's more about ingraining what are our core systems and what we rely on."

Mortlock said he didn't anticipate the Wallabies having any problems adjusting to yet another combination of Experimental Law Variations they will play under on tour.

With the Test careers of long standing halves George Gregan and Stephen Larkham and fullback Chris Latham over, 66-times capped Tuqiri is clearly one of the veterans of the Wallabies backline.

"I don't like to think of myself as a veteran," Tuqiri said.

Among the newcomers joining the squad was 18-year-old utility back James O'Connor, whose baby-faced looks seem likely to provoke a string of quips from his new team mates.

"He (O'Connor) looks like he should have his school uniform on," Tuqiri joked.

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