MELBOURNE // Australia have dropped veteran winger Lote Tuqiri for the Wallabies' season-opening match against the Barbarians in Sydney this weekend. Lachie Turner and Drew Mitchell will be on the wings for the non-Test match on Saturday in place of the 29-year-old Tuqiri, who has earned 67 caps for his country but scored only two tries in a poor Super 14 season for the New South Wales Waratahs. Uncapped Western Force blindside flanker Matt Hodgson will form part of the Australian loose trio with Richard Brown and George Smith in a side named today which blends old hands with fresh legs.
Towering lock James Horwill returns to the Stirling Mortlock-captained Wallabies after missing the side's Europe tour last November with a foot injury. Horwill will combine with fellow giant Nathan Sharpe in a familiar front five, which includes props Al Baxter and Benn Robinson, and hooker Stephen Moore. "It's a high-quality line-up we're up against," the Australia coach Robbie Deans said in an Australian Rugby Union statement.
"This will be a Test match in everything but name." The Wallabies are likely to face several of their own against the Baa-Baas, an invitational side made up of players from all over the world. The Barbarians have named veteran Australia flanker Phil Waugh, former Australia half-back Chris Whitaker and his Leicester teammate and compatriot Rocky Elsom in an extended squad.
15-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14-Lachie Turner, 13-Stirling Mortlock (captain), 12-Berrick Barnes, 11-Drew Mitchell, 10-Matt Giteau, 9-Luke Burgess, 8-Richard Brown, 7-George Smith, 6-Matt Hodgson, 5-Nathan Sharpe, 4-James Horwill, 3-Al Baxter, 2-Stephen Moore, 1-Benn Robinson Replacements: 16-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17-Ben Alexander, 18-Dean Mumm, 19-David Pocock, 20-Josh Valentine, 21-Quade Cooper, 22-James O'Connor * Reuters