Deans turns to Sevens backs
August 19, 2010
Pat McCabe trains after learning he will travel to South Africa © Getty Images
Uncapped backs Nick Cummins and Pat McCabe have been named in a 28-man Wallabies squad to travel to South Africa on Tri-Nations duty, marking a landmark week for the Australia Sevens representatives.
Cummins, McCabe and Lachie Turner, who was also named in Australia's Commonwealth Games Sevens squad on Tuesday, have been added to Robbie Deans' travelling party as injury cover.
Injured Western Force players Matt Hodgson and Cameron Shepherd will be left in Australia when the squad departs on Friday. Shepherd picking up a grade one hamstring strain during a training run in Perth last week while Hodgson sustained a groin strain at Wallabies training in Sydney on Tuesday. Winger Peter Hynes also won't make the trip after failing to fully recover from a knee problem.
Wing Drew Mitchell is reportedly one of a number of other players with minor injuries, but he will make the trip which sees Australia take on South Africa in Pretoria on August 28, and Bloemfontein on September 4, prior to returning to Sydney for the tournament finale against New Zealand at ANZ Stadium.
Deans was tight-lipped over the injury concerns in his squad on Wednesday, deciding to take a sarcastic approach after finally being asked about something other than rugby league-target Quade Cooper's future.
''Well, Quade Cooper is available,'' Deans said with a laugh. Cooper is indeed available for selection after serving his two-match ban for a dangerous tackle.
Having beaten the Springboks in Brisbane, the Wallabies can claim the Mandela Trophy by winning one of the two games in South Africa, although they will have to overcome a poor record at altitude on African soil to do so. A sole victory would ensure second place in this year's Tri-Nations, while two wins would be required, along with a New Zealand loss to South Africa in Soweto on Saturday, to keep the series alive going into the decider in Sydney on September 11.
Rocky Elsom (captain), Ben Daley, Benn Robinson, Salesi Ma'afu, James Slipper, Stephen Moore, Saia Faingaa, Nathan Sharpe, Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons, Mark Chisholm, Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Richard Brown, Will Genia, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Matt Giteau, Anthony Faingaa, Berrick Barnes, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Nick Cummins, James O'Connor, Lachie Turner, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale