- Robbie Deans names an impressive squad with an average of 24 test appearances
- The touring Wallabies take on the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 26
Photo: Getty Images
A strong Qantas Wallabies touring party, collectively boasting 634 Test appearances, will head to Twickenham on November 26 to take on the Barbarians for the Killik & Co Cup.
The 26-man playing group is composed almost entirely of players who competed at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, where Australia beat Wales 21-18 to win the Bronze Final. The injured pair of full back Kurtley Beale and fly half Quade Cooper are the only players from that starting XV not to be making the trip.
With the Barbarians, coached by All Black pairing Graham Henry and Steve Hansen, boasting a star-studded list including five of the victorious World Cup New Zealanders (Sonny Bill Williams, Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Piri Weepu and Adam Thomson), Australia’s visit to Twickenham has all the ingredients of the toughest of Test matches.
The Baa Baas have beaten New Zealand and South Africa in the last two years and will be determined to complete a hat-trick against the SANZAR nations, while avenging the 11-18 defeat suffered against a young Wallabies outfit at Wembley Stadium during the two teams’ last meeting in London four seasons ago.
Seven days after their fixture at the Home of England Rugby, the Wallabies move to Cardiff for their 14th and final outing of the year when they take on Wales for the James Bevan Trophy. In a re-match of the Rugby World Cup Bronze Final, Australia will hope to make it three wins on the bounce, having won their previous two encounters at the Millennium Stadium.
Fixtures promise to be demanding – Deans
It might be a three week assembly, with just two games, but Qantas Wallabies Head Coach Robbie Deans is anticipating a difficult tour, and the squad has been selected accordingly, with the number of international appearances averaging 24 per player.
"While this is a relatively brief visit by current standards, both fixtures promise to be exceedingly demanding," said Deans.
"Wales were arguably the most improved side at the Rugby World Cup, and their expectations will have risen on the back of that performance."
Coming into the Wallabies squad is Western Force prop Pekahou Cowan and three of the next generation of internationals: the Queensland Reds pair, centre Ben Tapuai and full back Ben Lucas, and the NSW Waratahs loose forward Dave Dennis.
The World Cup squad members not able to be considered for the tour were full back Kurtley Beale (hamstring), winger Drew Mitchell (hamstring), inside centre Pat McCabe (shoulder), fly half Quade Cooper (knee), No 8 Wycliff Palu (hamstring), flanker Rocky Elsom (hamstring), lock Dan Vickerman (shoulder), Kepu (eye) and half back Luke Burgess, who has left Australia to continue his career with leading French club Toulouse.
Winger Lachie Turner and flanker Matt Hodgson, who both joined the Wallabies in New Zealand as the replacements for Mitchell and Palu respectively, have been retained in the touring group.
Quantas Wallabies Match Dates
Saturday, November 26 : Qantas Wallabies v Barbarians, Killik & Co Cup, Twickenham Stadium, London, 2.35pm.
Saturday, December 3: Qantas Wallabies v Wales, James Bevan Trophy, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 2.30pm.
Qantas Wallabies Spring Tour Squad
James Horwill (captain)
Tatafu Polota Nau
Tickets for the Barbarians v Australia Killik & Co Cup match are now on sale via RFU.com, priced from £15 for children and £35 to £65 for adults.
To complete a mouthwatering day of top-class international rugby at the stadium, the Barbarians v Australia match will be followed at 5.00pm by a repeat of the 2010 Women's World Cup final when England Women take on New Zealand Women.