Australia rugby coach Robbie Deans made three injury-forced changes to the Wallabies’ preliminary squad for the Test series against the British and Irish Lions starting this month.
Scrum-half Nick Phipps, lock Kane Douglas and loose forward Ben McCalman were added to the 25-man roster in place of winger Digby Ioane, second-rower Sitaleki Timani and flanker Scott Higginbotham, the Australian Rugby Union said.
Higginbotham and Timani got injured playing for their Super Rugby teams this weekend and their prospects of being fit to face the Lions will be determined after they have scans for respective shoulder and thumb injuries, the ARU said in an e-mailed statement.
Ioane last week underwent a knee operation and will be unable to train for some of the preparation time in the lead-up to the June 22 series opener against the Lions in Brisbane. He’ll stay with the squad to continue his rehabilitation.
The squad enters training camp today and another six players will be added to a final 31-man roster to be announced June 11. Deans said Phipps’s selection doesn’t rule ACT Brumbies scrum-half Nic White out of contention for one of the final six berths.
REVISED WALLABIES 25-MAN SQUAD: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga’a, Israel Folau, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, James Horwill, Sekope Kepu, Christian Leali’ifano, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, James O’Connor, Wycliff Palu, Nick Phipps, Benn Robinson, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Joe Tomane.
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