Weary Wallabies arrive in Padova - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Weary Wallabies arrive in Padova

By Darren Walton 03/11/2008 11:53:51 AM Comments (0)

They took the scenic route and encountered a few problems along the way, but the Wallabies have finally arrived in Padova, Italy for the second leg of their spring tour.

The battered Wallabies certainly can't say they haven't had ample time to think and put their sapping 19-14 Bledisloe Cup loss to the All Blacks on Saturday behind them as they shift their focus to Italy this weekend.

Their 13-hour flight from Hong Kong to London was followed by a bus trip to Luton, where they took a charter plane - once the fog cleared anyway - to Venice and then a train to Padova.

Several time zones and a few lost bags later and the Wallabies arrived safe and sound at their team hotel.

Now they must quickly regroup for what shapes as another bruising encounter with the rugged Italians.

"They're a side that we definitely respect," said Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

"They've got one of the best packs in Six Nations. And Test rugby starts there, so we've got to make a plan."

Deans should have key forwards Wycliff Palu (knee), Hugh McMeniman (ankle), Adam Freier (calf) and possibly rookie lock Peter Kimlin (quad) back available this week, but five-eighth Matt Giteau (shoulder) may be doubtful and winger Lote Tuqiri (knee) is definitely out for at least one more Test.

"We're starting to stand a few up, which is good," Deans said.

Deans has forecast using all 34 squad members during the tour and veteran skipper Stirling Mortlock is confident any international newcomers who may earn a Test start against Italy will make the most of the opportunity.

"It's outstanding to be a part of this team and just to see how the young guys come in and just blossom and back themselves," Mortlock said.

"That's really exciting from my perspective and likewise a lot of the guys who have been around for a while.

"The environment is really positive and conducive to guys expressing themselves.

"You still saw that in our game against the All Blacks, but what we've got to get better at is understanding how to close out a game, how to deny opposition chances.

"I think we're getting there. When you've got a lot of younger guys, you're starting to grow as a team. But I think we're not far away."

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