Burgess set to return for Wallabies
Halfback Luke Burgess has been cleared to return to action for the Wallabies and may come off the bench against the All Blacks on Saturday night.
Burgess fractured his hand ahead of the NSW Waratahs’ Super Rugby play-off against the Blues in Auckland five weeks ago but finally looks set to get his chance to play at Eden Park.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans on Monday confirmed the 27-year-old was fully recovered and back in the selection mix for the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup encounter as back-up to the influential Will Genia.
Deans will name his 24-man travel party on Tuesday before announcing his team on Thursday after their first training session in Auckland.
Burgess, capped 32 times, is expected to replace rookie Nick Phipps in the only change to the 22-man squad which beat a second-string South Africa 39-20 nine days ago, as all indications are the selectors will reward the incumbents.
Deans admitted discarded veteran back Matt Giteau had the experience to also cover at No.9 but wasn’t being considered as a halfback option against New Zealand, who thrashed the Springboks 40-7 in Wellington on the weekend.
Giteau trained briefly at halfback last week in camp on the Gold Coast but has spent most time at five-eighth and inside centre.
In positive news for this Saturday’s crucial Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Test, fullback Kurtley Beale declared himself fit and ready to go after overcoming an ankle injury sustained against the Springboks.
Beale returned to team training last Friday and reported he’d pulled up well over the weekend.
“I think all the time we’ve given it has helped me out,” he said on Friday. “It feels really good.
“There’s been a lot of physio work and it’s coming along really well.”
Brumbies prop Salesi Ma’afu, who has recovered from a broken arm, won’t be taken to Auckland but Deans said he was close to being available for the August 13 clash with South Africa in Durban.
Fellow front-rower Benn Robinson remains upbeat about his slim chances of overcoming a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in time for the World Cup after continuing his running rehab without problem at The Southport School on the Gold Coast.© AAP 2013