x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Quade Cooper restored to Australia line-up for Lions training squad

The controversial fly-half, due to make his boxing debut next month, returns to international duty after his spat with Robbie Deans as Australia name a 49-man training squad for the summer Test series.

Quade Cooper with Australia coach Robbie Deans.
Quade Cooper with Australia coach Robbie Deans.

Quade Cooper returns to the international fold after being named in Australia's training squad for the British and Irish Lions series later this year.

The controversial fly-half, who was involved in a public row with coach Robbie Deans over Australia's training camp for the Rugby Championship last year, has been training to make his boxing debut.

The Queensland Reds playmaker is due to step into the ring against seasoned fighter Barry Dunnett on February 8, but has resolved his differences with Deans to be included in the 49-man training group ahead of the test series in June and July.

He is joined in the large squad by Queensland team mates James Horwill and Will Genia, who are both recovering from long term injuries, but there is no place for back row forward Radike Samo.

Other capped players to miss out are NSW Waratahs winger Lachie Turner and Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan, with ACT Brumbies captain Ben Mowen also overlooked.

New cross-code convert Israel Folau is another not selected.

But with the new Super Rugby season getting underway next month, an Australian Rugby Union official said there would be plenty of changes to the squad before the first test against the Lions in Brisbane on June 22.

"It doesn't guarantee anything," he said.

"If you're not here it doesn't mean you're not a Wallaby this year - it comes down to what you do on the field.

"There's nothing to stop Israel Folau going out there and playing the house down to make the team."

Seven uncapped players have been named including ACT Brumbies flyalf Christian Lealiifano and scrum-half Nic White, while Western Force second row Hugh McMeniman is recalled after the end of a three-year spell in Japan which put his international career on hold.

 

Australia training squad: Saia Faingaa, James Hanson, James Slipper, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Will Genia, Ben Lucas, Quade Cooper, Ben Tapaui, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley, Digby Ioane, Luke Morahan, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Wycliff Palu, Berrick Barnes, Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Dan Palmer, David Pocock, Nic White, Christian Lealiifano, Pat McCabe, Joe Tomane, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Scott Higginbotham, Nick Phipps, Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Mitch Inman, Cooper Vuna, Salesi Ma'afu, Hugh McMeniman, Ben McCalman, Nick Cummins.

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