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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.
“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:
|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|
|Wycliff Palu||No 8||NSW Waratahs||30||42|
|Nick Phipps||Halfback||Melbourne Rebels||23||8|
|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|