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Wallabies dump three

By Melissa Woods 09/07/2003 09:26:59 PM Comments (0)

Chris Latham, Nathan Sharpe and Morgan Turinui have been axed from the Wallabies' starting side for the Tri-Nations rugby series opener against South Africa.

Fullback Latham and second rower Sharpe paid for below par performances in last month's loss to England, making way for Matt Burke and Daniel Vickerman for Saturday's Test in Cape Town.

Turinui yielded to the irresistible claims of Mat Rogers, who takes the outside centre spot.

Latham and Sharpe joined already-dropped hooker Jeremy Paul in suffering fall out from the England loss as coach Eddie Jones made a total of five changes to the starting line-up.

Elton Flatley returns from the disciplinary "sinbin" to start at five eighth and Brendan Cannon becomes the starting hooker with Paul back in Sydney club rugby.

Owen Finegan and Stephen Larkham, both returning for their first Tests of the year after injury, are on the bench alongside new reserve hooker Adam Freier, who is set to win his fifth cap.

"When you can leave out blokes like Morgan Turinui and Chris Latham out of the 22, then we look in a better position than we have for a while," Jones said.

"We're happy with the way we're starting to develop some depth and flexibility within the squad."

The news was a bitter blow for Latham, who appeared openly disappointed at training after his failure to make the 22.

The dynamic Queenslander played well in Australia's Tests against Ireland and Wales but faltered against England, making some crucial handling and defensive errors.

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