Wallabies' spring tour coming to a close - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies' spring tour coming to a close

By Darren Walton 03/12/2008 01:54:27 PM Comments (0)

The Wallabies wind up their spring tour on Wednesday night when they take on a formidable Barbarians line-up at Wembley Stadium.

With a host of his big guns, including skipper Stirling Mortlock, five-eighth Matt Giteau and lock Nathan Sharpe out injured, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has handed his rising stars the chance to shine.

Deans was relieved to see Quade Cooper train strongly on Tuesday after the young playmaker struggled with a finger injury on Monday.

Cooper admits the Wallabies face a daunting task against a Barbarians outfit coached by Jake White and Eddie Jones and chock full of superstars including All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and World Cup-winning Springboks Percy Montgomery, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger and John Smit.

"This is one of the better Barbarians sides there has been for a while and Eddie and I are really chuffed to get this group of players together," White said.

"It has been nice for me to be with the (players I coached at the World Cup) but it has also been nice to coach players like Richie and Joe Rokocoko.

"Usually when I see them they are on the other side of the field. It is nice to see the players who usually smash into each other having an opportunity to play as a team and that is something unique in rugby.

"A guy like Sean Fitzpatrick was a great captain of New Zealand but never got the chance to play for the Barbarians and I am sure he would have loved to play in a team like this."

Cooper is hoping the Wallabies' team spirit will prevail over the classy Baa Baas.

"They've got a dream team, the Barbarians, so it will be a good test for all of us going up against some of the best players in the world," he said.

"They've obviously got some good individuals, but they've obviously been together for less than a week and we've been together for a while now.

"So we can use that as best we can and just play very much a team game against their individual game."

The match marks 100 years since Australia won the rugby gold medal at the 1908 London Olympics and kicks off at 6.30am on Thursday AEDT.

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