Aussie wrap (Tues)

Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from Australia’s year-end tour.

Deans conservative with Aussie jumper

Australia coach Robbie Deans won’t be tempted to experiment too much with personnel on their year-end tour.

Australia play five back-to-back matches on their UK tour and Deans noted that this meant rotation would be crucial. He did, however, stress that he was not in the business of handing out Test caps without players warranting their spot in the side.

“We’ve got some talent with us who are clearly going to be Test players in time, but they’re not right now. They have talent, so to speak,” he said.

“Until they get that apprenticeship time under their belts – and most of the apprenticeship happens through the week, not on the weekend in a game – they’ll remain as that.

“So their entry is most likely to be off the bench because the critical thing for them is that, when they do get some involvement, they do well. And that accelerates their growth.”

He did, however, intimate that he would not risk star flyhalf Matt Giteau (shoulder injury) if not fully fit and this would give Berrick Barnes an opportunity at 10.

“It was most evident in South Africa, when Barnesy got injured and Stirling (Mortlock) was our back-up 10, that we haven’t had an opportunity to prepare for plan B.

“But we’ve got to do that. It would be foolish not to provide an opportunity to cater for that potential. And obviously Barnesy right now is our second 10. That’s pretty evident. So we’ll look at how Gits is and then we’ll make that decision.

Ashley-Cooper out pummel Poms

Adam Ashley-Cooper says the memory of his disastrous World Cup quarter-final performance against England still hurts.

Australia take on Italy in Padova on Saturday followed by the Test against England at Twickenham a week later. Ashley-Cooper insists he is focused on the initial task, but his dead keen on redeeming himself against England.

“That England match was grim and I’ve already started to use that as a little bit of motivation working towards these Poms,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“… come England week, I’ll be recalling that performance in France last year and definitely be using that because I was absolutely filthy with that game.

“It was such an important game and such a special game; a World Cup quarter-final and I suppose individually when you feel that you performed so badly, you feel responsible.”

More to follow…