Dunning open to switch

Forgotten loose-head prop Matt Dunning is prepared to change positions in an attempt to regain a place in the Australia squad ahead of this November's European Tour. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Forgotten loose-head prop Matt Dunning is prepared to change positions in an attempt to regain a place in the Australia squad ahead of this November’s European Tour.

Dunning, who was part of the Wallabies scrum decimated by England at Twickenham last year, was dropped from the side when new coach John Connolly took over the reins from Eddie Jones earlier this year.

The 27-year-old suffered a further fall from grace when he lost his place in the NSW Waratahs Super 14 team to 21-year-old rookie Benn Robinson, and was also left out of Connolly’s 45-man Wallabies training squad in June.

But Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie believes Dunning could reinvent himself by converting to tight-head prop, and has selected the front-rower in the position for New South Wales in the Australian Provincial Championship this month. 

"Matt is in the best physical shape of his career and he’s tailor-made for tight-head," McKenzie said.

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"He’s been pitch-forked into the position but this is his chance to show Wallaby selectors that with a bit more development he could challenge to be Australia’s number one number three."

Dunning admitted he would play any position if it meant getting back into the Australia team and was looking forward to his trial on the other side of the front-row.

"I’m really excited about playing a number of games in a row at tighthead," Dunning said.

"I’ve trained in the position but there’s nothing like game time to really develop.

"I’ve started in two Tests at tighthead but never played consecutive matches in the number three jersey so I’m looking forward to playing about four or five games in a row in the position."

Dunning also revealed he has been working hard off the field in an attempt to resurrect his career.

"For a while I spent time losing weight but now I’m building up from 114 to 118 kilos to better prepare myself for tight-head and that’s been due to more time in the gym over the last six months," said Dunning.

"I still want to be able to play loose-head but if they want me to be fullback, I’ll do it, to go on the Tour."

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