SYDNEY, July 16 (Reuters) – Australia wingers Drew Mitchell
and Lachie Turner returned to the international fold on Monday
when they were included in the Wallabies’ initial training squad
for the inaugural Rugby Championship.
Australia open the new competition, which replaces the
Tri-Nations with the addition of Argentina from this year, with
a test against the world champion All Blacks in Sydney on Aug.
Coach Robbie Deans named a 27-strong squad for a three-day
training camp in Sydney next week but did not include any
players from the Queensland Reds, who are still involved in the
Super Rugby playoffs.
Mitchell, who has scored 29 tries in 58 tests, and Turner,
one of the quickest backs in international rugby, both missed
the June tests against Scotland and Wales through injury.
Fullback Kurtley Beale and flanker David Pocock, who is
likely to captain Australia in the absence of the injured James
Horwill, were also included despite missing the end of the Super
Rugby season with rib and groin injuries respectively.
James O’Connor, one of Australia’s most dangerous attacking
threats, remains a doubt for the Rugby Championship opener
because of a hamstring problem and was not named, while
experienced lock Nathan Sharpe has been rested.
Hard-running Western Force winger Nick Cummins, former
Australia sevens captain Bernard Foley, outside back Mitch Inman
and prop Paddy Ryan were among the uncapped players who will be
pressing their cases at the camp.
Deans, who will name his final squad after a second camp in
early August, said such gatherings were vital to expose as many
players as possible to the national team’s programme ahead of
what will be a long international season.
“The camps provide us with an important opportunity for
training background,” he said in a news release.
“It gives us the chance to bring the whole group together
and familiarise them with the method: ‘tune’ them in to Wallaby
content if you like.”
Squad – Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell,
Lachie Turner, Nick Cummins, Cooper Vuna, Rob Horne, Mitch
Inman, Pat McCabe, Bernard Foley, Berrick Barnes, Nick Phipps,
Nic White, Ben Mowen, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis,
Kane Douglas, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Sitaleki Timani,
Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, Ben Alexander, Paddy Ryan, Stephen
Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)