Triple blow for Wallabies

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 07:51
Large scott higginbotham ball 630 Large digbyioanetraining Large sitaleki timani

Injuries have forced Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to make three changes to his preliminary squad to play the the British and Irish Lions.

Injuries to key players have forced Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to make three changes to his preliminary squad to play the the British and Irish Lions.

Deans had to seek replacements following injuries to wing Digby Ioane, lock Sitaleki Timani and flank Scott Higginbotham.

Melbourne Rebels scrumhalf Nick Phipps, Waratahs lock Kane Douglas and Western Force loose forward Ben McCalman have all been added to the Wallabies squad.

The prospects of Timani and Higginbotham playing in the Lions series will be determined after they have scans for respective thumb and shoulder problems, the ARU said.

Timani left the field after sustaining a suspected broken thumb during the Waratahs' 23-22 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday. He was to have scans on his return to Sydney.

Higginbotham dislocated his right shoulder during Saturday's loss to the Reds, with the Melbourne Rebels skipper remaining in Brisbane for scans while the Wallabies assemble in camp.

"Hopefully I will be able to push on and be available for selection for the Lions," Higginbotham said after the Rebels' loss.

"The doctor told me if I don't need surgery, I am playing. I will have some scans, a bit of rehab and get back into it."

Ioane had surgery last week for cartilage damage in his left knee after returning home from the Reds' recent two-match tour of South Africa.

Deans said Ioane would be unable to train for some of the preparation time in the lead-up to the opening Test against the Lions in Brisbane on June 22.

"Digby is unable to train. His focus is on getting his knee right, which is why we've chosen to bring him in anyway, so our medical staff can oversee the process," Deans said.

Douglas received his Test introduction last year against Argentina on the Gold Coast, while McCalman recently surpassed a half century of Super Rugby appearances for the Western Force.

Phipps, who played in nine Tests last year, joins Will Genia as the second scrumhalf in the Wallabies' squad.

Deans is scheduled to finalise his squad with six further additions on June 11.

Wallabies squad: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga'a, Israel Folau, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, James Horwill, Sekope Kepu, Christian Leali'ifano, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, James O'Connor, Wycliff Palu, Nick Phipps, Benn Robinson, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Joe Tomane.