Qantas Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans has confirmed the six additional plyers for his squad to tackle the British & Irish Lions and there is no place for Queensland Reds playmaker Quade Cooper.
As expected, Deans has opted to draft the controversial Melbourne Rebels utility back Kurtley Beale, who is joined by wing Digby Ioane, utility forward Peter Kimlin, lock Hugh McMeniman, centre Pat McCabe and prop Scott Sio.
The six additional players takes Deans’ squad up to a full compliment of 31 players for the three match series against Warren Gatland’s side. The first test is in Brisbane in 12 days time.
Deans has also confirmed that Reds lock James Horwill will captain the Australians in the series. Melbourne Rebels scrum half Luke Burgess and the Reds hooker James Hanson will remain with the squad this week as training cover
McCabe and McMeniman proved their fitness for selection during last weekend’s Australian only Super Rugby round, turning out for the Brumbies and Western Force respectively, while Beale and Ioane were all involved in some capacity during last week’s preliminary squad training camp in Sydney.
Kimlin, who has been a mainstay for the Brumbies and finished last Friday night’s win over the Melbourne Rebels as captain of the side, gained his call up after playing the only two Tests of his career to date against Italy at Canberra and Melbourne in 2009.
The uncapped, Sydney-born Brumbies prop Scott Sio is one of four uncapped players in the squad. The 21-year-old, who has progressed from a short-term development contract last year to a first team regular in Canberra, is the son of former Samoan prop Tevita Sio.
Beale’s inclusion comes despite two suspensions this season for alcohol fuelled incidents, but Deans knows exactly what he can expect from a player who can play almost anywhere in the back line.
“We know what Kurtley is capable of in this arena. He showed that as recently as last year’s Spring Tour when he performed outstandingly and led the team from fly half in adverse circumstances against many of the opposition players we now face again,” said Deans.
“His work last week during the first camp supported our contention that it was not too soon for him to get started again, from either a physical or a mental stand point. His physical state is a testament, both to how hard he has worked, but also his desire to get started again.”
Kimlin returns to the Wallabies after a four-year absence, while McMeniman is included having spent the past four years in Japan.
QANTAS WALLABIES SQUAD V BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
|Adam Ashley-Cooper||Waratahs||Utility Back||29||77|
|Berrick Barnes||Waratahs||OH / FB / Centre||27||50|
|Kurtley Beale||Rebels||OH / FB||24||36|
|Dave Dennis||Waratahs||Loose Forward||27||15|
|Israel Folau||Waratahs||Full Back / Wing||23||Uncapped|
|Will Genia||Reds||Scrum Half||25||41|
|Peter Kimlin||Brumbies||Utility Forward||27||2|
|Christian Leali’ifano||Brumbies||OH / Centre||25||Uncapped|
|Ben McCalman||Force||No 8||25||21|
|Hugh McMeniman||Force||Lock / Flanker||29||21|
|Ben Mowen||Brumbies||No 8||28||Uncapped|
|James O'Connor||Rebels||OH / Wing||22||37|
|Wycliff Palu||Waratahs||No 8||30||46|
|Nick Phipps||Rebels||Scrum Half||24||12|