Freier given chance by Aussies

The battle for the hooking role in the Australia squad took another turn on Friday when Adam Freier was named in the number two jersey for the Test against Fiji in Perth. [more]

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The battle for the hooking role in the Australia squad took another turn on Friday when Adam Freier was named in the number two jersey for the Test against Fiji in Perth.

Queensland Reds rake Stephen Moore started in the first two Tests of the Wallabies international campaign this year, against Wales.

But Freier made a significant difference to the lineout throwing when he came on in the second half of last week’s 31-0 win over the Welsh in Brisbane.

It will be the first time Freier has started for the senior team since hobbling off in the Test against England in Melbourne last June. 

At that time he was the first-choice hooker in Australia, but a foot injury kept him sidelined for the rest of the international season and derailed his chances of going on the end-of-year tour to Italy and the UK last November.

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The 25-year-old found himself fifth in the pecking order behind Brendan Cannon, Tai McIsaac, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Moore.

But with Cannon’s neck injury forcing him into retirement, McIsaac not impressing selectors and Polota-Nau entrenched in the Australia A campaign, a fit again Freier has the chance to re-establish himself as the Wallabies top hooker.

"I always believed I could get back," Freier told The Australian. "It was a matter of being in the right situation.

"Now it’s up to me to play well and repay the faith shown in me by Knuckles (John Connolly), Michael Foley and the whole coaching staff."

Freier will benefit from having some familiar faces around him, with this week’s front-row being an all-NSW Waratahs one with props Matt Dunning and Al Baxter.

There is also a return of another NSW team-mate, towering lock Dan Vickermen, to the Wallabies starting XV after seven months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury and has strengthened Australia’s lineout in recent games.

Freier, though, will be keen to re-establish the connection with his throw-ins.   

"I have a really good combination with Dan at lineout. I read him really well and I think we have developed a really good relationship over the years," he added.

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