Waratahs wield the axe
May 24, 2000

Selectors have dumped former captain Michael Brial, Duncan McRae, Darren Junee and controversial No.8 Tiaan Strauss from the New South Wales rugby squad for next month's interstate series.

The NSW Rugby Union said today it had "formally advised" the four they were not required in the 31-man squad for the Ricoh Cup matches against Queensland at the SFS on June 3 and the ACT Brumbies at Bruce Stadium on June 10.

Former Springbok captain Strauss' axing was expected as he's retiring this year and the Waratahs are looking to the future by including eight newcomers in the squad after another poor and controversy marred Super 12 season. He had also been spoken out publicly against first year coach Ian Kennedy's handling of the job.

But the dumping of the other three must put their representative future in severe doubt. Brial saw little playing time in the Super 12 this season while utility backs Junee and McRae were also hardly required.

A long injury list also opened the way for youngsters with winger Matt Dowling (broken leg), winger Dominic Byrne (wrist), centre Luke Inman (hamstring), backrower Daniel Manu (Achilles tendon), prop Rod Moore (shoulder) and winger Tui Talaia (shoulder) all ruled out.

Wallaby centre Nathan Grey is also in doubt for the series after suffering ligament damage to a toe in a weekend club match and he'll be tested next week.

The eight newcomers include NSW rugby academy players in Western Suburbs prop Matt Dunning, Gordon utility back Michael Hercus, Eastwood five eighth Tim Donnelly, Eastwood fullback Peter Miller and Manly winger Peter Playford.

The others are Eastern Suburbs captain and loose forward Ben Dunn, Manly No.8 Nick Gregorski and Randwick winger Nigel Waugh.

NSW squad: Matthew Burke, Peter Miller, Scott Staniforth, Peter Playford, Nigel Waugh, Jason Little, Paul Dineen, Nathan Grey, Marc Stcherbina, Christian Warner, Manuel Edmonds, Tim Donnelly, Michael Hercus, Chris Whitaker, Sam Payne, David Lyons, Nick Gregorski, Ben Dunn, Phil Waugh, Stu Pinkerton, Keith Gleeson, Peter Besseling, John Welborn, Tom Bowman, Richard Harry, Jason Reilly, Al Baxter, Matt Dunning, Cameron Blades, Brendan Cannon, Mark Crick.

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