Deans happy to keep Tuqiri as passenger - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Deans happy to keep Tuqiri as passenger

By Darren Walton 12/11/2008 01:06:58 PM Comments (0)

Injured winger Lote Tuqiri will remain with the Wallabies until the end of their European tour - even if he is unable to play a match.

Tuqiri has not played since undergoing knee surgery after Australia's 28-24 loss to New Zealand in mid-September and was only cleared to make six-week spring tour the day before the Wallabies departed.

He said in Hong Kong before the tour-opening clash with the All Blacks that he was targeting this weekend's showdown with England as his comeback match.

But despite watching Tuqiri train the house down over the past fortnight, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans on Wednesday admitted the dual international was not even close to gaining selection for the Cook Cup Test at Twickenham.

"He's just now starting to work on the field and starting to do more rugby-specific work and we'll just monitor his progress," Deans said.

Deans said before the tour that Tuqiri would be sent home if he suffered any setbacks but has since decided the 66-Test veteran is better off remaining with Wallabies, where he can receive specialist care from the team doctors, physios and - most importantly - conditioners.

"As he alluded to himself, he's not very good training by himself," Deans said.

Deans said both he and his first-choice winger remained hopeful a comeback would occur against either France, Wales or the Barbarians in the three remaining fixtures after the England Test.

But there are no guarantees and Tuqiri could well finish the tour as a passenger.

Teammates Timana Tahu (hamstring) and Berrick Barnes (knee) have already been ordered back to Australia after suffering tour-ending injuries against Italy last Saturday, reducing Deans squad to 32 players.

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