British and Irish Lions 2013: Injuries hit Australia but Quade Cooper still in the frame

 

Robbie Deans, the Australia coach, has claimed to be unfazed by a growing injury list and will watch Quade Cooper once more before the squad for the first British and Irish Lions Test is finalised.

Injuries in Australia's Super Rugby have put forwards Scott Higginbotham and Sitaleki Timani out. Winger Digby Ioane dropped out after left knee surgery last week, but joined the squad in Sydney yesterday to continue his rehabilitation.

Half-back Nick Phipps, lock Kane Douglas and back-rower Ben McCalman were added to the group at the weekend. Deans is already without key flankers David Pocock and George Smith, has refused to fret.

"I gave that up a long time ago. You just roll with your circumstances and make the most of it," Deans said.

Lock Timani broke a thumb playing for his club, the New South Wales Waratahs, on Friday, while in-form Rebels back-rower Higginbotham dislocated a shoulder on Saturday.

Their prospects will be determined by scans and Deans said Timani will be out if he needs surgery. Deans will attend Friday's game between the Brumbies and Rebels in Canberra and the Queensland-Lions match in Brisbane the following night. Six players will be added to the squad on 11 June, giving Cooper one more chance to stake a claim.

The mercurial fly-half gave a chequered performance in Saturday's match with his club, Queensland Rebels, having two kicks charged down for tries, but scoring the match-clinching try. "Quade did some very good things and he did some things that he wouldn't have been so pleased about as well," Deans said.

After going with Will Genia as the only halfback in the preliminary squad, Deans said a third could be among the six additional players.

Back Kurtley Beale is also training with the squad. He played a full 80 minutes in Sydney club rugby on Saturday after coming back from his second suspension of the season following alcohol-related issues.

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