Deans introduces some fresh faces
September 28, 2009
Western Force winger Nick Cummins is one of the new faces drafted in by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans © Getty Images
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has injected ten uncapped players into his latest training squad ahead of their end of year tour.
The newcomers include Western Force winger Nick Cummins, Waratahs midfield back Rob Horne, Queensland Reds and Australian Sevens scrum-half Richard Kingi, Brumbies blindside flanker Mitchell Chapman, Waratahs lock Dave Dennis, and Australia Under-20 hooker Damien Fitzpatrick, ACT Brumbies prop Salesi Ma'afu and the as yet uncapped at state level Sydney University utility forward Ben McCalman.
Waratahs utility back Kurtley Beale and Western Force blindside flanker Matt Hodgson are also included. While he was a member of the Wallabies' Tri-Nations squad Beale has yet to appear for Australia in a Test match. Neither has Hodgson, although he did feature in the non-cap 55-7 win over the Barbarians which opened this year's international season.
Props Matt Dunning and Sekope Kepu return to the fold, after missing the start of the season due to injuries sustained in the final game of last year's tour against the Barbarians at Wembley. Winger Digby Ioane is also back after a shoulder reconstruction.
The players are all part of an extended 43-man group that will assemble at Coogee next week in preparation of a tour that will take in Japan, Great Britain and Ireland. The squad will undergo four days of training in Sydney before the announcement of the final 35-man party on October 9.
The tour includes Australia's first bid for a Grand Slam of the four Home Unions of the UK and Ireland since the 1984 side successfully beat Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland - the first Wallabies side to achieve this feat.
The trip kicks off with the final Bledisloe Cup Test of the season, when Australia and New Zealand play an historic match at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on October 31.
"The four-day training camp gives us the opportunity to bring the group together, assess where the guys are at, and also look at some new options," said Deans. "It's an important tour for us as a group, and for Australian Rugby as a whole.
"While not all of the players who come into camp with us next week will go on the tour, those who get left behind will still have the knowledge of our processes, and have spent some time in the environment, which will be invaluable should we have injuries and require reinforcements."
Wallabies training squad: James O'Connor (Western Force), Lachie Turner (NSW Waratahs), Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs), Drew Mitchell (Western Force), Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds), Nick Cummins (Western Force), Peter Hynes (Queensland Reds), Ryan Cross (Western Force), Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies), Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies), Matt Giteau (Western Force), Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds), Berrick Barnes (Queensland Reds), Josh Valentine (Western Force), Will Genia (Queensland Reds), Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs), Richard Kingi (Queensland Reds), Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs), George Smith (Brumbies), David Pocock (Western Force), Phil Waugh (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Hoiles (Brumbies), Matt Hodgson (Western Force), Rocky Elsom (Brumbies), Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs), Richard Brown (Western Force), Mitchell Chapman (Brumbies), Ben McCalman (Sydney University - uns igned), Mark Chisholm (Brumbies), James Horwill (Queensland Reds), Nathan Sharpe (Western Force), Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs), Al Baxter (NSW Waratahs), Matt Dunning (NSW Waratahs), Pekahou Cowan (Western Force), Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs), Salesi Ma'afu (Brumbies), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Damien Fitzpatrick (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs).