An initial 25 man Wallabies squad has been named for the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour. I wouldn’t call it the most experienced Wallabies line up but there are a few old heads in there including Adam Ashley-Cooper, Steve Moore and Benn Robinson. Israel Folau has been named, although Wallabies coach Robbie Deans insinuated he could just be “an option” at fullback or on the wing. Controversial fly half Quade Cooper was not named to the squad, most likely due to his defensive deficiencies.
Injuries caused a few selection problems for the Wallabies. The Waratahs v Brumbies Super Rugby game over the weekend was one of attrition, with 5 potential Wallabies going out injured. Tatafu Polota-Nau fractured his arm and will miss the Lions tour completely. Veteran George Smith hurt his knee and is out indefinitely. Christian Lealiifano, Rob Home and Pat McCabe also left the field injured. Smith in particular could have been a difference maker at the breakdown. He’s been on fire this Super Rugby season for the Brumbies and being a veteran of the last Lions tour his leadership and experience would have been invaluable for the Wallabies.
The 25 man squad looks like this. Courtesy of ABC News:
The Lions tour kicks off June 5th in Perth when they take on the Western Force. The first Wallabies game is June 22nd in Brisbane.
Former Wallaby fly half Michael Lynagh suffered a stroke on Wednesday and the news has sent shock waves throughout the Australian rugby community. Lynagh is a fit and healthy 48 year old these days so the news was greeted by surprise and serious concern amongst his peers and fans.
Former team mate and Wallaby prop Ewen McKenzie (now coach of the Queensland Reds) had this to stay:
“I was about to speak at a conference. It caught me completely by surprise. I had to chase (for information) it literally before I got up and spoke so it was a bit disconcerting… It’s a big shock. I’m in the same age bracket (McKenzie is 46). When these things happen to people you know really well, it’s not a good thing… There’s lots of those memories come back. You start thinking about that. You take some of those memories for granted. When misfortune strikes, those things come back. (But) it sounds positive at the moment. Hopefully he will recover well… I played a lot of Test football with him. He’s a quiet guy but one of those guys who commanded respect through performance. There are obviously some big moments there, the quarter-final against Ireland in 1991.”
As McKenzie mentioned, Lynagh is most fondly remembered as one of the heroes of the 1991 Rugby World Cup for Australia. He scored the game winning try in the quarter final against Ireland and went on to be a key player in the victory over England in the final. Enjoy the highlights…
My thoughts are with him and his family and I hope he pulls through without any long lasting affects.
You can read more on the Brisbane Times site