Robbie Deans picks Australia squad to counter Warren Gatland's backs during the visit of the British and Irish Lions
Quade Cooper, the New Zealand-born Queensland star, is not in the Wallabies squad
Sunday 19 May 2013
Robbie Deans said yesterday his Wallabies have the power to counter the physical threat posed by the British and Irish Lions next month as he announced his preliminary 25-man squad.
The Australia coach expressed great confidence in the strength and balance of his selection, believing he has covered all bases and can counter the experienced Lions' back line, the strongest area of Warren Gatland's touring party.
"We understand what's coming and that the Lions have a very experienced combination," Deans said. "They have a physical side, particularly in the back line, so we have to deal with that and bring something of our own. We believe we have put together a group that can cater for both elements."
The former rugby league player Israel Folau was included in Deans' squad, with Quade Cooper the most notable omission. James O'Connor, Berrick Barnes and Christian Lealiifano were all included in the squad as options at No 10 or 12, although there is still room for a recall for Cooper, with six more players to be added to the squad on 11 June.
Cooper continues to pay the price for criticising the Wallabies and Deans last year with his public remarks about the "toxic environment" in the squad, being left out despite his strong halves partnership with Queensland teammate Will Genia.
"People will say that's the end for Quade, but that's not the case," Deans said. "I've selected him on 38 occasions. He's had a lot of faith and support from me."
The New Zealand-born Cooper was Deans' first-choice fly-half in the lead-up to and during the 2011 World Cup, but had a tournament to forget under intense scrutiny in the host nation and finished up with a season-ending knee injury in the third-place play-off.
Australia's captain for the Lions series will be named when Deans finalises his squad next month, but it is widely expected to be lock James Horwill.
It remains unclear what plans Deans has for incumbent full-back Kurtley Beale, who is not playing while he undergoes rehabilitation treatment to overcome issues with alcohol. "He's taken the initiative to put himself through a rehab process and that's a great step," Deans said. "It's a great piece of encouragement, to be honest. So he's got a chance."
The Lions will play nine matches in Australia, starting against the Western Force in Perth on 5 June.
Israel Folau, Digby Ioane, Joe Tomane, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Christian Lealiifano, Berrick Barnes, James O'Connor, Will Genia.
Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, Dave Dennis, Ben Mowen, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Sitaleki Timani, James Slipper, Ben Alexander, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Saia Faingaa.
* Six more players will be added on 10 June
Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
Angel Di Maria to Bayern Munich: The reasons why Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben will not be joining Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview after being asked about possible sale of Manchester United target Sergio Ramos
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Kyrgios set for heavy fine for giving up game during loss to Richard Gasquet
Memphis Depay's squad number revealed as he trains with Manchester United for the first time... but is it cursed?
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 4 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts