Burke set be back at Wallaby fullback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Burke set be back at Wallaby fullback

By Melissa Woods 08/07/2003 06:42:06 PM Comments (0)

Australia's most capped fullback Matt Burke is set to oust Chris Latham and reclaim the No.15 jersey for Saturday's opening Tri-Nations rugby clash against South Africa in Cape Town.

Burke hasn't played a Test this year after injuring his knee early in the Super 12, with Latham the preferred fullback in Australia's first three Tests this year.

The Queenslander had an unhappy match in the Wallabies' loss to England in Melbourne last month, making a number of crucial handling errors.

Meanwhile, the ever-solid Burke, who last week re-signed for a further year with the Waratahs, has impressed Wallabies coach Eddie Jones at training to force his way back into contention.

His last Test at fullback was against Ireland on Australia's end-of-year tour, with Burke playing outside centre with the Wallabies last year, where he has spent the last two Super 12 seasons.

He had his best performances this year at No.15, when he returned for the final two games of the Super 12 and took over fullback from the injured Mat Rogers.

Set to name his side on Wednesday night (AEST), Wallabies coach Eddie Jones rated selection for the Newlands Test as one of the toughest of his two-year reign.

Elton Flatley failed to complete training after a knee problem flared and he will undergo intensive treatment, but isn't in any doubt for the match.

With Stephen Larkham set to return at five-eighth off the bench, it's likely Burke will take over the goal-kicking duties at some stage, with Jones stating earlier this week that winger Joe Roff wasn't up to Test standard as kicker.

"I think it was probably one of the most difficult selections we've had to make," Jones said.

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