Sharpe axed by Wallabies
August 2, 2011
Nathan Sharpe's international future is in doubt © Getty Images
Nathan Sharpe has been axed for the Wallabies' upcoming Tri-Nations clash against the All Blacks in Auckland, casting doubt on the lock's international future ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
The Western Force captain was overlooked in favour of the returning Dan Vickerman in a 24-man travelling squad bound for Eden Park announced on Tuesday. The touring group includes 20 of the players who formed the squad when Australia beat South Africa 39-20 in Sydney on 23 July to open the series.
The new additions are the NSW Waratahs quartet of halfback Luke Burgess, winger Lachie Turner and second rowers Sitaleki Timani and Vickerman.
Burgess returns after proving his fitness following rehabilitation on a fractured hand, which he broke in training prior to the NSW Waratahs trip to Auckland for the qualifying semi-final of Super Rugby in June.
Turner is included in the travelling group after pleasing during recent outings for his Sydney club Eastwood, which included scoring a try during last weekend's win by the Shute Shield front-runners over Parramatta.
Vickerman also featured strongly for Sydney University last weekend, getting through a full 80 minutes as the students over ran Northern Suburbs. The 56-cap lock forward, returned to the Wallabies for the first time since 2008 when he appeared off the bench during the Test against Samoa in Sydney last month.
Timani made his international debut in the same match after impressing for the Waratahs during the back end of the Super Rugby competition.
However, there is no place for discarded Wallabies back Matt Giteau. The 92-cap back missed the Tri-Nations opener against South Africa and his hopes of playing in the forthcoming World Cup were harmed further by his omission from Robbie Deans' squad.
Saturday night's Test, at a ground where the All Blacks have been undefeated for 17 years, is the third match of this year's Tri-Nations, with Australia and New Zealand tied on five points after both gained bonus point victories over South Africa in their respective opening matches.
Australia squad: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Pekahou Cowan, Rocky Elsom, Anthony Fainga'a, Saia Fainga'a, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, James Horwill, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, James O'Connor, David Pocock, Rob Simmons, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner, Dan Vickerman
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