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Wallaby flyers back in the mix

Mon, 16 Jul 2012 08:45
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It's a win-win
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Test wings Drew Mitchell and Lachie Turner were named in a 27-man Australian training squad on Monday ahead of next month's inaugural four-nation Rugby Championship.

The injury-hit Waratahs pair missed Australia's games against Scotland and Wales in June, but have recently returned to the field in Super Rugby.

Veteran Western Force lock Nathan Sharpe was rested from the July 24 to 26 camp in Sydney, while Wallaby back James O'Connor was unavailable as he recovers from a hamstring strain.

Kurtley Beale, who made his Test return for the year in that match, has been included despite his pending court case for assault.

No Reds players were considered for selection in the training squad because of their Super Rugby play-off commitments.

The training group will be supplemented by three players - an outside backs and two loose forwards - from within the ranks of the national academy programme.

Their presence allows for fully opposed training sessions, while also introducing the younger players to the standards of preparation required within the senior national team framework.

"The camps provide us with an important opportunity for training background," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said.

"It gives us the chance to bring the whole group together and familiarise them with the Wallaby method as they are at the end of their different state programmes from Super Rugby."

Australia will play the opening Test in the Rugby Championship against New Zealand in Sydney on August 18, with South Africa and Argentina also involved in the southern hemisphere tournament.

The second camp is in Sydney on August 1 to 3, with the 30-man squad for the Championship to be finalised following that gathering.

Deans is not fazed by the unavailability of Reds players for the opening camp.

"It's a win-win," he says.

"If they advance to the semifinal and beyond, we have players gaining exposure to the highest level and, more importantly, the highest intensity of provincial rugby you can get. That's great background for what's coming in Rugby Championship."

* The players who were not considered because of injury are: Salesi Ma'afu (Western Force), Dan Palmer (Brumbies), James Horwill (Queensland Reds), Ben McCalman (Western Force), Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), James O'Connor (Melbourne Rebels), Joe Tomane (Brumbies).

Australian squad:

Backs: Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell, Lachie Turner, Nick Cummins, Cooper Vuna, Rob Horne, Mitch Inman, Pat McCabe, Bernard Foley, Berrick Barnes, Nick Phipps, Nic White.

Forwards: Ben Mowen, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, Ben Alexander, Paddy Ryan, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Rugby Championship schedule:
August 18: Wallabies v New Zealand, Sydney (20.00)
August 18: South Africa v Argentina, Cape Town (17.00)
August 25: Wallabies v New Zealand, Auckland (19.35)
August 25: Argentina v South Africa (16.10)
September 8: Wallabies v South Africa (18.30)
September 8: New Zealand v Argentina (19.35)
September 15: Wallabies v Argentina (20.00)
September 15: New Zealand v South Africa (19.35)
September 29: Wallabies v South Africa (15.00)
September 29: Argentina v New Zealand (20.10)
October 6: Wallabies v Argentina (20.00)
October 6: South Africa v New Zealand (17.00)

Additional Bledisloe Cup match:
October 20: Wallabies v New Zealand (20.00)

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