Injuries hammer Aussie chances

Robbie Deans is likely to field a weakened Wallabies side against the Barbarians due to numerous injury-concerns.

Wednesday’s international was always going to be a test for Australia following Saturday’s defeat to Wales. The fixture at the Millennium Stadium has taken it’s toll and captain Stirling Mortlock has been ruled out of the Baa Baas clash because of a head injury. Lock Nathan Sharpe (broken thumb) will not play while winger Peter Hynes and hooker Stephen Moore will also be handed a rest.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Deans will give all his fringe players a run. Brett Sheehan, Peter Kimlin and Jame O’Connor will all get game time, while Lote Tuqiri is due to replace Hynes in the starting line-up.

“When we name the team, we’re going to give everyone access, essentially,” Deans said. “And for good reasons. It’s been a big stretch, and everyone has worked as hard. Peter Kimlin will have a jersey on, which he is pretty excited about. Brett’ll have a jersey on. We’ll wait and see what number. It’s easy to put your self interests ahead of the team interests when you’re not having access but the guys have been great.”

Newly-crowned world champions South Africa lost to the Barbarians at the end of last year, but Deans admitted the spirit of these clashes is what’s important. The match at Wembley could witness some great running rugby.

“The reality is that it’s not a Test match so the shackles will be off to some extent,” Deans said. “It’s a genuinely tricky situation because you’re representing your country and you’re representing yourself and you’re up against a World XV who are uninhibited and probably pretty excited about expressing themselves. But having said that, it’s a great opportunity.”