Four Waratahs return for Tri Nations opener


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HSBC Waratahs Lote Tuqiri, Wycliff Palu, Matt Dunning and Tatafu Polota-Nau have all recovered from injury to make their returns to Test Rugby on Saturday after being named in the Wallaby side to take on South Africa in Perth.

Tuqiri (knee) and Palu (shoulder) missed the last match due to injuries sustained in the first Test against France, but have trained freely this week since the squad assembled in Perth ahead of Australia’s Tri Nations opener.

In doing so, they have convinced Wallabies coach Robbie Deans of their fitness for the assignment ahead.

Deans watched Palu play 50 minutes for Manly in the Tooheys New Shute Shield last weekend alongside Wallaby No.7 George Smith.

‘They’re looking good and ready to go again,’ said Deans. ‘We needed to be absolutely certain that they were right, because the South Africans are going to be the most physical opponent we have played so far.

‘By allowing them all time, we’re happy that they are at the level, both physically and mentally, that they need to be to play.’

Dunning returns to the side after missing the two matches against France, but showed enough for Eastwood last week to warrant his place on the bench.

After hand injuries in the latter stages of the Super 14, Polota-Nau was named in the Australian squad for the Tests against Ireland and France but was unable to take his place in the team.

‘Tatafu offers genuine impact,’ said Deans. ‘His ability to carry could potentially be invaluable in the latter stages of what I’d expect will be a high tempo game.

‘While he’s only had one club run since the Super 14 finished, the nature of his injury was such that he was still able to train, so his fitness base didn’t suffer too much. He’s also had two full weeks in camp which has helped bring him up to the level of the rest of the squad.’

The 22-man squad features nine HSBC Waratahs, including six in the starting XV, while 13 hail from Tooheys New Shute Shield clubs.

Saturday, 19 July 2008 (Kick-off 8:05pm AEST)
Subiaco Oval, Perth


1. Benn Robinson (Eastwood, HSBC Waratahs)
2. Stephen Moore (Reds)
3. Al Baxter (Northern Suburbs, HSBC Waratahs)
4. James Horwill (Reds)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Force)
6. Rocky Elsom (Randwick, HSBC Waratahs)
7. George Smith (Manly, Brumbies)
8. Wycliff Palu (Manly, HSBC Waratahs)
9. Luke Burgess (Eastern Suburbs, HSBC Waratahs)
10. Matt Giteau (Force)
11. Lote Tuqiri (West Harbour, HSBC Waratahs)
12. Berrick Barnes (Reds)
13. Stirling Mortlock [c] (Gordon, Brumbies)
14. Peter Hynes (Reds)
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs, Brumbies)
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Parramatta, HSBC Waratahs)
17. Matt Dunning (Eastwood, HSBC Waratahs)
18. Hugh McMeniman (Reds)
19. Phil Waugh (Sydney University, HSBC Waratahs)
20. Sam Cordingley (Reds)
21. Ryan Cross (Eastern Suburbs, Force)
22. Drew Mitchell (Force)



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