Rugby Union: Australians reinstate match-winner Hardy

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The Independent Online
Mitch Hardy, Australia's first-Test hero, was dropped then reinstated yesterday for next Saturday's second Test against France. Full-back Matt Burke's return from injury appeared to squeeze Hardy out of the squad, even though his two tries in a 13-minute cameo debut as an injury replacement set up Australia's 29-15 win in Sydney on Saturday.

Hardy was not named when the Australian Rugby Union released a 21-man squad which included Burke and prop Dan Crowley, who had also withdrawn from the first Test through injury. Less than an hour later, however, coach Greg Smith said Hardy would be in an expanded 22-man squad and would also play in the Australian Barbarians' match against France in Newcastle tomorrow.

Hardy, brought into the squad when Burke pulled out with a groin injury, lit up Saturday's match when he came on with the score locked at 15-15. Five John Eales penalties had kept the Wallabies in the match despite the French scoring two tries.

Standing off a maul four metres from the line, Hardy took a pass from George Gregan and twice stepped inside off his left foot, beating four defenders. His touchdown gave Australia a 22-15 lead after Eales' conversion.

Winger Ben Tune set up the decisive try when he raced down the right touchline and kicked inside. Tune won the race to the ball but could not take control and as the ball bobbed about, Hardy flew in to toe it through twice and lay just enough pressure for his second try.

AUSTRALIAN SQUAD (Second Test v France, Saturday): M Burke, M Caputo, M Cockbain, T Coker, D Crowley, J Eales (capt), M Foley, D Giffin, G Gregan, M Hardy, R Harry, T Horan, P Howard, S Larkham, J Little, D Manu, E McKenzie, S Payne, J Roff, B Robinson, B Tune, D Wilson.

Scotland's tour management have opted not to replace injured stand- off Craig Chalmers, whose hamstring strain has ruled him out of the rest of the six-match tour of South Africa. Team manager Doug Morgan had asked for Ally Donaldson and Bryan Redpath to be flown out to replace Chalmers and the other injured player, Rowen Shepherd, but both stand-by players injured themselves. Shepherd has been replaced by Graeme Beveridge, the Boroughmuir and Scotland under 21 scrum-half, who arrived in South Africa yesterday.

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