Winds of change for Wallabies
22 May 2006
ACT front-rowers Jeremy Paul and Bill Young are back in favour with the Australian selectors.
But the NSW trio of David Lyons, Morgan Turinui and Matt Dunning will struggle for Test spots writes Sydney Morning Herald rugby writer Greg Growden.
More than 40 players, including 15 Waratahs, will assemble in Sydney tomorrow night for a three-day Wallabies preliminary training camp where they will meet with the new Australian management team, headed by coach John Connolly.
The full 33-man Wallabies training squad will be announced on May 29 but it already appears that several well-known Australian players will miss out on the final contingent, which will include five props, three hookers and three halfbacks.
The selectors appear certain to overlook No 8 Lyons, centre Turinui and prop Dunning from the full squad, and they are also not expected to be part of this week’s preliminary training camp.
While Dunning, who has been used off the bench by the Waratahs this season, has had few opportunities to show his wares during the Super 14, Lyons and Turinui have failed to impress the new Australian selection panel of Connolly, Scott Johnson and Michael O’Connor.
Lyons found himself replaced in the NSW back row in the final rounds by Stephen Hoiles, and Wallabies officials believe Turinui has not been as prominent during this year’s Super 14 tournament compared to previous seasons.
The selectors have not given up on either Waratah but it will be difficult for them to be in contention for the early internationals, as Connolly is eager to use George Smith, Rocky Elsom and Daniel Heenan in his back row, with Phil Waugh playing off the bench.
In the centre rankings, Matt Giteau, Stirling Mortlock, Gene Fairbanks, Scott Staniforth, Ben Tune and Sam Norton-Knight are all ahead of Turinui.