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Tuqiri dropped from Wallabies team


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Star winger Lote Tuqiri was dropped on Tuesday from Australia’s team to face the Barbarians, raising questions about his international future at the age of 29.

The 67-Test veteran paid the price for a spell of lacklustre form with Waratahs as club team-mate Lachie Turner and Drew Mitchell were named on the wings for Saturday’s match in Sydney.

Western Force flanker Matt Hodgson wins a debut Wallabies appearance while coach Robbie Deans handed a bench spot to 18-year-old back James O’Connor.

“It’s a high-quality line-up we are up against,” said Deans.

“The Barbarians boast proven performers at this level who are hungry for more success without being burdened by the pressure of expectation that you associate with full Test matches.

“Because of that, they will be even more dangerous as an opponent.”

Deans, who has one eye on upcoming home matches against Italy and France, retains Stirling Mortlock as captain alongside Berrick Barnes in the centres and flyhalf Matt Giteau.

Reds captain James Horwill returns to the second row after missing last year’s northern hemisphere tour with an ankle injury.

The Barbarians feature former rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams and ex-England captain Martin Corry, who will retire after the match.

“He is held in high regard by everyone who has played with and against him and he is retiring after our tour,” Barbarians president Micky Steele-Bodger said of Corry.

Australia team to face Barbarians (15-1):

Adam Ashley-Cooper (ACT Brumbies), Lachie Turner (NSW Waratahs), Stirling Mortlock (ACT Brumbies, capt), Berrick Barnes (Queensland Reds), Drew Mitchell (Western Force), Matt Giteau (ACT Brumbies), Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs), Richard Brown (Western Force), George Smith (ACT Brumbies), Matt Hodgson (Western Force), Nathan Sharpe (Western Force), James Horwill (Queensland Reds), Al Baxter (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Moore (ACT Brumbies), Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)

Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs), Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies), Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs), David Pocock (Western Force), Josh Valentine (Western Force), Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds), James O’Connor (Western Force)


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