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Lions set to cause Super Rugby row in Australia

ARU CEO Bill Pulver says the Wallabies camp will go ahead

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Article Published: Tuesday 26 February 2013|

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver says that he will back Robbie Deans against the Super Rugby franchises to ensure that the Wallabies aren't under prepared for the British and Irish Lions in June.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans wants to pull his best players out of Super Rugby three weeks before the first Lions test on June the 22nd despite objections from the Australian Super Rugby teams.

If the Wallabies camp goes ahead the Australian Conference teams will be without their top Super Rugby players for the 17th round of matches which could have severe implications for the respective teams' play off hopes.

Qualification for the Super Rugby play offs in July frequently come down one point in the standings or even the number of wins and points difference and the Australian Super Rugby teams are fearful that a match lost at that stage could spell the end of their campaign.

Deans however says that preparation for the British and Irish Lions tour would be essential as the Lions have five warm up matches in Australia before they play the first Test while the Australians will have no game time together before the Tests start.

Despite the moans from the Super Rugby teams Pulver says that he will finalise the Wallabies camp in the coming days - whether the franchises like it or not.

"I'm not sure that we'll get a consensus view on that. Clearly they want to have their players available for every Super Rugby game," Pulver told AAP at Monday's announcement of 100 days until the tour begins.

"My priority is that Robbie has the right preparation in order to make sure we beat the Lions. "

"Clearly Robbie's going to get all the support he needs in terms of getting that group together ideally three weeks ahead of that first game.

"I've got to get back and speak with the various Super Rugby franchises over the next couple of days but we'll be getting an announcement out imminently."

If the Super Rugby players are pulled for Rd.17 the best players will be missing from the Brumbies v Melbourne and Western Force v Waratahs matches from June 7-9.

The Reds play the Lions at Suncorp on June the 9th and they too hope to have their stars for that match.

If the camp goes ahead the Wallabies will have less preparation than when they did in 2001 when Australia beat the British and Irish Lions.

Deans said that the reality is that his players will have to make the best of the short preparation time they will get with the Wallabies camp.

"Obviously wherever it ends up it's not going to be large, but we've just got to make the most of the time we get," Deans said.

"Preparation is key. You've only got to listen to Rod Macqueen."

"We were fortunate enough that Rod came in and spoke to us yesterday and he spoke about the fact that their preparation for the first Test in 2001 was negligent. It was insufficient and hence the outcome.

"Wherever we finish up we won't have as much as they had."

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika said his franchise would just have to grin and bear the ARU's decision of a Lions camp.

"There's nothing we can do about it really. We'll just go with whatever's been thrown out and take it on," Cheika said.

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