8 Sep 2008

Some injury concerns for Wallabies

6:45 am on 8 September 2008

The Wallabies rugby coach Robbie Deans has a couple of injury concerns ahead of this week's Tri-Nations decider against the All Blacks in Brisbane.

Deans is facing a tough decision on who to play at inside centre against the All Blacks with preferred choice Berrick Barnes racing the clock with a shoulder injury. while league convert Timana Tahu was exposed when filling in their in their record loss to South Africa in Johannesburg.

Barnes believes he's 50-50 at best but Deans appears pessimistic about the low-tackling Queenslander's chances.

He must train solidly today at Ballymore to prove he'll be close to 100 per cent fit for the crunch match, where Australia will attempt to end a seven-year Tri-Nations drought.

If Barnes is out, Mortlock looms as the likely No.12, moving one position in and another code-jumper, Ryan Cross, promoted to start at outside centre.

Apart from Barnes, reserve hooker Adam Freier (hamstring) is the only other Wallabies squad member listed with an injury concern after he missed his Sydney club semi-final.

Freier, in the mix for a bench spot, will want to run freely at training today to be selected ahead of Tatafu Polota-Nau tomorrow.

Stephen Moore is a certainty to start at rake as one of six possible changes, due to his superior set-piece skills after the Australian scrum and lineout were dreadful in Johannesburg.

Flanker George Smith will start ahead of Phil Waugh while changes are also being considered at prop, second-row and fullback.

Seasoned lock Nathan Sharpe, eying a return after being dumped following the 39-10 loss to New Zealand last month, will arrive in camp today after his wife gave birth to a son, Franklin, on Friday.

The All Blacks travelled to Brisbane yesterday.