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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Wallaby Tuqiri out of Wales Tests
Australia winger Lote Tuqiri
Tuqiri will undergo special sprint training work
Australia winger Lote Tuqiri has been ruled out of the two Tests against Wales (26 May and 2 June).

Coach John Connelly believes Tuqiri will benefit more from an intense training programme rather than playing.

Fly-half Stephen Larkham is one of a number of key players who could be rested for the first Test in Sydney after a tough Super 14 season.

Julian Huxley, Lachlan Turner and Digby Ioane are set for debuts as Australia experiment before the World Cup.

Huxley is the most likely choice to take over at full-back to cover the injured Chris Latham, while Turner and Ioane are battling for Tuqiri's wing spot.

Ashley-Cooper could come in at inside centre if Matt Giteau moves to scrum-half.

We expect two pretty competitive games with Wales

Australia coach John Connolly

Connolly has already revealed that captain George Gregan will make way for Giteau at scrum-half in either the first or second Test.

"Tuqiri is one that we could get a big improvement from with a revised training program so he will sit out the first two Tests (against Wales)," said Connolly at the squad's training base in Sydney.

"(Rocky) Elsom, (Guy) Shepherdson are others and Larkham is another one under consideration.

"George Smith wasn't going to play the first couple, but with the uncertainty of Phil Waugh (injured) not being in the mix, we are not sure where we are at with that one.

"We are just trying to freshen these guys up physically and mentally for what is ahead."

Wales will also field a young and experimental side after leaving 18 top players at home for conditioning work.

Coach Gareth Jenkins has come under fire in Australia for bringing such an under-strength squad, but he insisted the players are good enough to the trouble their hosts.

"We are carrying six Lions, we've got 15 players who have played more than 20 test matches," said Jenkins.

"We've tried to keep this team very competitive in all the right areas and I feel as if we are going to be a competitive unit when we play our two test matches against Australia."

Connolly, whose side drew 29-29 with Wales in the last meeting between the two sides in November, also predicted a tight encounters.

"The Welsh are a fair side," he said. "They have left a few guys at home, but equally they are still a very even side so we expect two pretty competitive games."

After the two Tests with Wales on 26 May and 2 June, Australia play Fiji a week late before their first Tri Nations match in South Africa.


Australia 37-man squad for three-day Sydney training camp:

Forwards: Al Baxter, Rodney Blake, Benn Robinson, Matt Dunning, Guy Shepherdson, Adam Freier, Stephen Moore, Mark Chisholm, Nathan Sharpe, Dan Vickerman, Hugh McMeniman, James Horwill, Rocky Elsom, George Smith, Phil Waugh, Stephen Hoiles, David Lyons, Wycliff Palu, Jone Tawake.
Backs: George Gregan, Sam Cordingley, Josh Holmes, Stephen Larkham, Sam Norton-Knight, Berrick Barnes, Matt Giteau, Stirling Mortlock, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ryan Cross, Scott Staniforth, Lote Tuqiri, Mark Gerrard, Digby Ioane, Drew Mitchell, Lachlan Turner, Julian Huxley, Cameron Shepherd.

Dropped players: Alister Campbell, Nic Henderson, Jeremy Paul, Clyde Rathbone, Julian Salvi, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Richard Brown, Gareth Hardy, James Hilgendorf, Junior Pelesasa, David Pocock, Troy Takiari, Rudi Vedelago, Rodney Blake, Mitchell Chapman, Quade Cooper, John Roe, Kurtley Beale, Will Caldwell, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Brett Sheehan, Josh Valentine, Morgan Turinui.



SEE ALSO
Wallabies cut Paul for Wales test
13 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Turinui doubtful for Wales Tests
17 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment


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