Deans opens door for Wallabies veterans
January 28, 2011
Melbourne Rebels centre Stirling Mortlock: World Cup is 'still the ultimate goal' © Getty Images
Robbie Deans has revived hopes of seemingly discarded Wallabies veterans Phil Waugh and Stirling Mortlock making Australia's World Cup squad.
Deans has regenerated his squad over the past couple of years, injecting youth at the expense of some seasoned campaigners in the process. But as the New Zealand-hosted global showpiece draws near, Deans has told players that form, not age, will be the only factor considered when assembling his final squad.
Deans explained his stance on a recent tour of the five Australian Super Rugby squads and it has ignited both Waugh and Mortlock's dreams of rejoining the international fold for one last hurrah.
"His message to all of us who have been around for a while was that a World Cup is special and that he was open to bringing in faces from the past," Waratahs flanker Waugh told the Australian. "Over the last 18 months, I haven't had a lot of international rugby but it's a huge goal of mine to get to the World Cup and then to win the World Cup."
Mortlock, like Waugh, is now into his early thirties with more than 70 caps to his name. But while Waugh showed the sort of form towards the end of last year's Super 14 season that could merit a return to the Wallabies, the veteran centre has battled a string of injury problems and is seeking first to rebuild his career at the Melbourne Rebels.
"It's still the ultimate goal," Mortlock said of his World Cup ambitions. "But I still have a long way to go before I could even start thinking about that."
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