Tuesday 24 April 2018

No place for Cooper in Australia squad

Conor George

Conor George

ROBBIE DEANS has confirmed that there is no room in his Australia squad for the mercurial Quade Cooper after finalising his roster.

The final six places in the Wallabies panel for the Test series against the Lions were filled yesterday, with Hugh McMeniman arriving in from Perth to join Kurtley Beale, Digby Ioane, Pat McCabe, Peter Kimlin and Scott Sio.

Melbourne Rebels scrum-half Luke Burgess and Queensland Reds hooker James Hanson will remain with the squad this week as training cover.

In addition, Australia's 2011 Tri-Nations-winning skipper James Horwill has been confirmed as Wallabies skipper, returning to the role he last held 18 months ago, before a long-term injury ruled the second-row out of last year's international season.

The only real surprise in the squad is the inclusion of uncapped Brumbies prop Sio.

The powerful 21-year-old, who is one of four uncapped players in the squad, is the son of Tevita Sio, who anchored the Samoa front-row during that country's maiden World Cup voyage.

"Scott has had a remarkable year," Deans said. "While he is still developing his game, his work-rate around the field, impact in contact and in defence, and the raw power he brings to his set-piece indicated to us that he was ready."

Sio, who converted to the front-row after leaving school, is one of five props in the squad, with the upcoming Test series operating under the dynamic introduced last year, which caters for the inclusion of four props in an enlarged match-day squad of 23 players.

Deans – who attended both the Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds v Lions fixtures last weekend – said the selection of the final places in the squad hadn't been easy, being further complicated by additional injuries – most notably to the Brumbies scrum-half Nic White and prop Dan Palmer.

Irish Independent

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