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Matt Burke to earn Wallaby recall?

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With Chris Latham recovering from a knee reconstruction and Mat Rogers back in Rugby League, Wallaby selectors are eyeing the form of former Australia fullback Matt Burke.


Burke, who won 81 Test caps for his country between 1993 and 2004, currently plies his trade with the Newcastle Falcons in England.


The Rugby World Cup winner recently took up British citizenship, meaning that he no longer counts as an “overseas player” for the Falcons and can play at the same time as the club’s All Blacks prop Joe McDonnell.


But if reports from Down Under are to be believed, he could be ushered home as early as May for the opening of the international season.


The rumour mill has been sparked into motion by concerns that the Wallabies lack of depth at fullback.


The contenders for the role are currently Clinton Schifcofske, who at 31 is only in his first year of the 15-man game, Andrew Walker, who at 33 has just returned to Union following a stint in Rugby League, then a drugs ban, then a sojourn in France.


Meanwhile, Peter Hewat of the Waratahs has never been in the favour of the selectors, while Cameron Shepherd and Mark Gerrard are considered more as wings.


Furthermore, Drew Mitchell apparently lacks the necessary kicking game.


Many believe that 2004 was too early an exit for Burke.


The ARU second-in-command Pat Wilson confirmed that Burke was under consideration.


“It’s fair to say there has been a discussion on Matt, but it’s very early and we’re only looking at contingency issues that might fall into place,” he told Australia’s The Sunday Telegraph.


“Our first preference unequivocally is to use players playing Super 14 in Australia. This is simply looking ahead at ‘what if’ situations.”


Burke’s agent John Fordham said: “Since Matt has been away there have been a number of inquiries on this very point of contingency. I remember it happened around the 2005 end-of-season tour to Europe.


“There has always been interest in what his position would be if he did get a call.”


365 Digital

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