Rugby Union: Wallabies call Crowley

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The Independent Online
SELECTION of the Wallabies has become the easiest of any international side in the world and 13 of those who trounced South Africa in Cape Town two months ago will face Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Saturday. Other things being equal, it would have been all 15 but Nick Farr-Jones has retired and Tony Daly departed injured.

With the midweek men making little impact other than in the literal sense in the pitched battle of Cork, there was scarcely any pressure on the established team announced yesterday after the Australians had crossed Ireland from Galway to Dublin. 'It has become pretty straightforward,' John Breen, the manager, acknowledged.

On the other hand, the management's best-laid plans have been disrupted by the tourists' run of injuries. Daly, Cameron Lillicrap and now Anthony Herbert - three in three successive matches - are all off the tour. Against Connacht on Tuesday, Herbert cracked a couple of bones in his back, an injury that is less serious than it sounds but every bit as painful and needs six weeks' recovery.

Although Herbert is a centre, his place goes to Tim Wallace, 23, an outside-half who would have gone on the tour to South Africa but for breaking his hand when Sydney thrashed New Zealand in July. Yet to play for New South Wales, Wallace scored almost 250 points for the Gordon club this year.

The greatest, in fact the only, selectorial problem concerned loose-head prop, where the departure of Daly and then Lillicrap forced the switch of Dan Crowley from tight to loose. The replacement, Matt Ryan, a loose head who played tight against Connacht while Crowley was being assessed out of position, is not deemed fit enough to make his Test debut.

In any case, Crowley has done enough to warrant his place, even to the extent of a sturdy showing against Connacht wearing someone else's boots. He had left his own in Belfast and, having unusually small feet for a prop, when he found that they had been forwarded to Dublin rather than Galway had to persuade the scrum-half, Peter Slattery, to lend him his. Strapped up in sticking plaster to keep them on, he did not look comfortable.

Crowley played once for Australia, against Western Samoa, during last year's World Cup, and before that was the Wallaby tight head in all three Tests against the 1989 Lions. The other change from the Springboks' conquerors brings in Slattery for Farr-Jones. But that had been pre-ordained.

AUSTRALIA (v Ireland, Dublin, Saturday): M Roebuck; D Campese (New South Wales), T Horan, J Little, P Carozza; M Lynagh (capt), P Slattery; D Crowley (Queensland), P Kearns, E McKenzie (NSW), R McCall, J Eales (Queensland), W Ofahengaue, T Gavin (NSW), D Wilson (Queensland). Replacements: A Ekert, T Kelaher (NSW), D Smith, D Nucifora, M Ryan, T Coker (Queensland).

Serge Blanco leads the French Barbarians against South Africa, whose midweek side lost 18-3 to the French Universities in Tours last night, in the final match of his career at Lille on Saturday and the last game of the French leg of the Springboks' tour. Robert Jones, the Wales scrum-half, is the only non-Frenchman in the side.

FRENCH BARBARIANS (v South Africa, Lille, Saturday): S Blanco (capt); P Lagisquet, P Sella, D Charvet, P Saint-Andre; D Camberabero, R Jones; G Lascube, M Dal Maso, P Ondarts, A Benazzi, J Condom, L Loppy, L Rodriguez, E Champ. Replacements: P Berot, J-P Lescarboura, G Accoceberry, E Melville, D Erbani, P Marocco.

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