A test of depth

Wallabies boss Robbie Deans believes this coming summer will give him a chance to assess Australia's strength in depth ahead of the 2013 Lions tour. [more]

A test of depth

Wallabies boss Robbie Deans believes this coming summer will give him a chance to assess Australia’s strength in depth ahead of the 2013 Lions tour.

Britain and Ireland’s elite head Down Under in June of next year to meet Deans’ men in what should be a truly memorable three-match series.

But both Scotland and Wales will be in Australia 12 months’ earlier as Andy Robinson and Warren Gatland take their troops south for summer Tests.

The Scots are first to face the reigning Tri Nations Champions in Newcastle on June 5, with the Welsh then scheduled for three successive internationals, with the first coming just four days after Australia’s clash with Scotland.

It’s an incredibly tough schedule but not one that Deans is complaining about. And rather than making noises about player welfare or the pressure on resources, the former Crusaders king says it’s a great opportunity for the Wallabies to really see where they’re at beyond their first-choice XV.

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"Four Tests in three weeks, it's unprecedented, so it's going to test our depth," said Deans, who admitted the side to face Scotland will be made up almost entirely of players from the Reds and Force franchises as they have a bye in the previous weekend’s Super 15 calendar.

"We're going to have Super Rugby on Saturday followed by a Test match against Scotland on a Tuesday, followed by a Test match against Wales on the following Saturday.

"That's going to take a lot of dialogue (with the Super Rugby sides) around management of the playing group and awareness of where players are at in terms of their state of wellbeing.

"It will test our depth but it will also provide some opportunity because clearly no player can go Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday with two of them being Test matches.

"There is a possibility for some players to back up, but it is inevitable that it won't be the same two combinations. It's just not possible."

After taking on Scotland and Wales in our summer and their winter, the Wallabies head to the inaugural Rugby Championship which now includes Argentina as well as New Zealand and South Africa.

They then travel to Europe for their end-of-year tour just two weeks after their third and final Bledisloe Cup match of the year in Brisbane on October 20.

That final adventure of 2012 begins against France in Paris on November 10, with England next up at Twickenham on Nov 17.

The Wallabies will then take on Italy in either Bologna or Parma on November 24 before a sixth game against Wales in 14 months on December 1.

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