No guarantees for Waugh, Tuqiri: Deans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No guarantees for Waugh, Tuqiri: Deans

By Darren Walton 09/06/2009 06:08:23 PM Comments (0)

Robbie Deans has admitted for the first time there are "no guarantees" that Wallabies stalwarts Phil Waugh and Lote Tuqiri will play Test rugby in 2009.

As expected, both long-time Wallabies regulars were on Tuesday omitted from Australia's 22-man squad for Saturday's opening Test of the year against in Italy in Canberra on Saturday night.

While Deans says the door remains open for possible Test recalls for both Waugh and Tuqiri, the no-nonsense coach indicated it may be a long winter for the veterans of two World Cup campaigns.

"As I said to the boys this morning, we'd love to see them all in a Wallaby jersey this year, or this (June) series (against Italy and France) in the first instance. But there are no guarantees to that end," Deans told AAP.

The only certainty for Waugh and Tuqiri - who both turn 30 in September - is that they each face an almighty challenge winning back their coveted Test jumpers.

In some quarters, Waugh - now ranked behind four-times Australian Super 14 player of the year George Smith and Western Force youngster David Pocock in the openside flanker ranks - was considered fortunate to make Deans' initial 29-man squad for the June Tests.

The 77-Test breakaway was understood to have only earned a late reprieve when NSW Waratahs teammate Wycliff Palu was ruled out with injury.

The 30th place in the squad was always being held for Rocky Elsom once his commitments with Leinster and the Barbarians were complete.

And after a relatively unproductive season for the low-scoring Waratahs, Tuqiri, a 67-Test mainstay, is believed to have dropped to fifth in the pecking order of Wallabies wingers.

Had Digby Ioane and Peter Hynes not been injured, the two Queensland speedsters would have first picked to tackle Italy.

Instead, Deans has retained Drew Mitchell and Lachie Turner after both impressed in Australia's 55-7 rout of the Baa Baas in Sydney last Saturday night.

The Wallabies are scheduled to play 14 Tests this year, so it would seem highly unlikely Waugh and Tuqiri won't be called upon at some stage.

Deans, though, says they will have to bide their time.

"Obviously what they do through the week is important, in training, because there's a short term and a long term," Deans said.

"We play Test matches from week to week and the lucky ones will get the opportunity in those.

"And there may be some who just keep toiling away and work as hard as those who are getting the opportunities, possibly even harder in many ways because it is challenging sometimes to retain your excitement when you're not getting access.

"But the critical thing is, when that chance comes, what they do with it.

"Hence, the importance of not waiting for that day or that hour to ensure that it's not left to chance when it comes around.

"Outside of that, I can't offer any certainty."

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