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Wallabies Spring Tour squad named for 2012

Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe is congratulated by coach Robbie Deans. AP Image/Dave Hunt
24th October, 2012
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The Wallabies squad of 30 for the upcoming Spring Tour for 2012 has been announced, with Nathan Sharpe named skipper of the of the 30-man party which will tour France, Italy and the United Kingdom

David Pocock and Stephen Moore have been named in the squad as they return from injury.

Just one uncapped played is in the side, NSW Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan.

Seven first-year Wallabies have been included in the touring group, with Queensland Reds hooker James Hanson, who made his Test debut during last weekend’s 18-18 draw against New Zealand in Brisbane, winning the third hooking berth ahead of his injured team-mate Saia Fainga’a, who broke a bone in his hand at training in the lead-up to that match.

While Fainga’a was on track to recover in time for the Spring Tour, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says that Hanson’s recent game-time, which includes both his Test debut and significant game-time at club level for Queensland University helped to win him the nod.

The fact that Moore is returning after an injury break, having not played since the Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland on August 25, also played a part in this decision.

“We had to have absolute certainty around at least two of our hookers,” said Deans.

“With Stephen also coming off a period out of the game, we couldn’t afford to head away having potential concerns around two of our three hookers.”

Although neither Pocock (knee) or Moore (hamstring) have recent match fitness behind them, Deans says both have proved their readiness to tour.

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“As well as being proven Test performers with valuable experience in the conditions that we will face on this tour, both also provide a significant leadership element which will add to what is still a relatively young group.”

Scott Higginbotham has been left out, and remains on stand-by.

“We’ve taken the same approach as we have around the hookers,” said Deans.

“To have included Scott within the 30 would have created an additional challenge in terms of selection for the opening two matches which would have compromised the group. Scott was aware once he was suspended that this was a possibility.”

Berrick Barnes returns to the side, recovering from a lung injury suffered in South Africa, while Sekope Kepu and Sitaleki Timani are also included after the injuries they sustained last weekend in Brisbane proved less significant than was initially feared.

The squad features an 18-forward, 12-back split, with five props selected to cater for the new arrangements regarding front-row substitutes which requires two props to be included on an eight-man Test reserves bench.

The Wallabies squad assembles in Sydney on Wednesday, and will attend the John Eales Medal presentation at the Sydney Convention Centre the following evening before departing for France on Saturday November 3.

The Wallabies squad for the 2012 Spring Tour is:

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Player Position State Age Appearances
Ben Alexander Prop Brumbies 27 45
Adam Ashley-Cooper Fullback-Wing-Midfield NSW Waratahs 28 73
Berrick Barnes Flyhalf/Inside Centre NSW Waratahs 26 46
Kurtley Beale Flyhalf/Fullback Melbourne Rebels 23 32
Nick Cummins Wing Western Force 25 2
Dave Dennis Loose Forward NSW Waratahs 26 11
Kane Douglas Lock NSW Waratahs 23 4
Anthony Fainga’a Centre Queensland Reds 25 23
Liam Gill Flanker Queensland Reds 20 6
James Hanson Hooker Queensland Reds 24 1
Mike Harris Fullback/Inside Centre/Flyhalf Queensland Reds 24 6
Michael Hooper Flanker NSW Waratahs 20 9
Digby Ioane Wing Queensland Reds 27 31
Sekope Kepu Prop NSW Waratahs 26 18
Pat McCabe Inside Centre Brumbies 24 18
Drew Mitchell Wing NSW Waratahs 28 60
Stephen Moore Hooker Brumbies 29 72
Wycliff Palu No 8 NSW Waratahs 30 42
Nick Phipps Halfback Melbourne Rebels 23 8
David Pocock Flanker Brumbies 24 45
Tatafu Polota-Nau Hooker NSW Waratahs 27 41
Benn Robinson Prop NSW Waratahs 28 52
Paddy Ryan Prop NSW Waratahs 24 Uncapped
Radike Samo Loose Forward Queensland Reds 36 22
Nathan Sharpe (c) Lock Western Force 34 112
Brett Sheehan Halfback Western Force 33 6
Rob Simmons Lock Queensland Reds 23 22
James Slipper Prop Queensland Reds 23 30
Ben Tapuai Centre Queensland Reds 23 3
Sitaleki Timani Lock NSW Waratahs 26 8

Spring Tour Fixtures (all times in AEDT):

11 Nov 2012 7.00am France v Wallabies Stade de France, Paris
18 Nov 2012 1.30am England v Wallabies Twickenham, London
25 Nov 2012 1.00am Italy v Wallabies Stade Artemio, Florence
2 Dec 2012 1.30am Wales v Wallabies Millenium Stadium, Cardiff