26 Oct 2012

Sharpe to lead Wallabies in Europe

11:43 am on 26 October 2012

Nathan Sharpe will lead the Wallabies in the final assignment of his 11-year test career after being named as skipper of the 30-man party that has been announced for next month's Tour to France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Sharpe, who took over as skipper midway through this year's Rugby Championship, leads a side which features just one uncapped player in the New South Wales Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan.

Seven first-year Wallabies have been included in the touring group, which has been bolstered by the returns of flanker David Pocock and hooker Stephen Moore from injury.

Queensland Reds hooker James Hanson, who made his test debut during last weekend's 18-18 draw against New Zealand in Brisbane, has won the third hooking berth ahead of his injured team-mate Saia Fainga'a.

Berrick Barnes returns to duty, after recovering from the lung injury he suffered against South Africa at Pretoria last month, while Sekope Kepu and Sitaleki Timani are also included after the injuries they sustained last weekend in Brisbane proved less significant than was initially feared.

Flanker Scott Higginbotham is a casualty from the Brisbane test, after suspension rubbed him out for the opening two tests of the tour against France and England.

With No.8 Wycliff Palu having only recently returned from injury, and Pocock also in that state, Deans says the Wallabies couldn't afford to carry a loose forward who wouldn't be available for the first two weeks of the trip.