Wallabies name squad

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The Independent Online
The Australian Rugby Union yesterday named five uncapped players - all forwards - in their 30-man squad for their eight-week tour of Europe.

Australia arrive in Italy on 15 October at the start of a tour which also includes Tests against Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The ARU are still hoping a Test match against England will be added to the British leg so the Wallabies can play their first Grand Slam of matches against the four Home Unions since 1984, when they completed the clean sweep. New Zealand secured the first Grand Slam six years previously.

Australia first suggested 7 December as the date for the England Test, but the Four Home Unions' tour committee rejected that date because it clashed with a match against the Barbarians at Twickenham. The ARU last week suggested either 2 November or 16 November as alternative dates for an England Test, and said they would consider cancelling the Test match against Wales at Cardiff on 1 December if those dates were rejected.

Australia added the Test against Wales to their original tour schedule after a request from Welsh officials. "A Test against England at Twickenham is still a possibility and an announcement is expected in the next few days," a statement released by the ARU said.

The Wallabies' coach, Greg Smith, said the squad would be increased to 32 if the England Test went ahead, with the forwards Tim Gavin and Euan McKenzie the players that would be added. Gavin and McKenzie were overlooked when selectors announced their squad, which includes the uncapped forwards Andrew Blades, Mark Connors, David Giffin, Toutai Kefu and Brett Robinson. All five featured this year in the inaugural Super 12 tournament for provincial teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The first Test of the tour is against Italy in Padova on 23 October, a match that will mark David Campese's 100th appearance in Australia's colours. In June, Campese increased his world record for tries scored in internationals to 64 by crossing in a one-off Test against Canada in Brisbane.

Orrell are prepared to go to court over their wrangle with Llanelli over the former All Black and Wigan star Frano Botica. Both clubs are claiming rights to the player, who originally agreed to play rugby league for Castleford in the summer Super League and union with Orrell for the next two winters.

Orrell have placed the matter in the hands of their solicitor, with a spokesman, Geoff Lightfoot, saying: "If they get away with this, it will create a precedent that will be very damaging to the game as a whole. It would mean that any contract is not worth the paper it is written on."

Llanelli agreed a pounds 75,000 transfer fee with Castleford for the 33-year- old former Wigan back and paraded him in front of their supporters before their game against Swansea last Saturday.

Botica, who has now recovered from a hip injury sustained playing for Orrell against Leicester 10 days ago, could find himself chosen for both rival clubs when they name their line-ups for Saturday's fixtures.

Meanwhile, Orrell have appointed another former rugby league player, centre David Lyon, 31, as their captain.

Lyon, a former Great Britain Under-21 full-back, joined the Courage One club in the summer from Leigh after earlier spells with Warrington and St Helens.

AUSTRALIA SQUAD: J Eales (capt), A Blades, M Brial, M Burke, D Campese, M Caputo, M Connors, D Crowley, M Foley, D Giffin, G Gregan, R Harry, A Heath, D Herbert, T Horan, P Howard, T Kefu, D Knox, S Larkham, J Little, D Manu, G Morgan, S Payne, B Robinson, J Roff, R Tombs, B Tune, T Wallace, J Welborn, D Wilson.