Latham returns to Australian fold

Australia have announced an expanded training squad for their Tri Nations clash with New Zealand in Melbourne including long term injury absentee Chris Latham.

Latham has not played this season since suffering knee ligament damage in a pre-season training accident. The injury left the vastly experienced full-back requiring surgery and subsequently put pay to any hopes he had of playing in the Super 14.

His inclusion is a huge boost for Australia ahead of the World Cup. Latham will look to prove his fitness this week leading up to the Test and hope he can reclaim his starting berth over the course of the Tri Nations.

Wallabies coach John Connolly has stressed Latham will not be considered for the upcoming Bledisloe Cup game but the aim is for him to play some part in the Tri Nations as well as playing at least one club game in the coming weeks.

The other two notable inclusions within the squad are rugby league converts Ryan Cross and Berrick Barnes. Both players have been added after impressing for Australia A in the Pacific Nations Cup, and Barnes in particular is being looked at as cover for resident fly-half Stephen Larkham ahead of the World Cup.

Sam Norton-Knight was considered to be favourite for the second choice fly-half slot but it now appears Barnes is the main candidate.

The 32-man squad will be reduced to 22 for the All Blacks game, a game Australia will need to win if they harbour serious ambitions of winning the Tri Nations having lost narrowly to South Africa in the opening game of the tournament.

Australia squad: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Al Baxter, Rodney Blake, Mark Chisholm, Sam Cordingley, Mark Chisholm, Ryan Cross, Matt Dunning, Rocky Elsom, Adam Freier, Mark Gerrard, Matt Giteau, George Gregan, Stephen Hoiles, James Horwill, Julian Huxley, Stephen Larkham, Chris Latham, David Lyons, Hugh McMeniman, Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Stirling Mortlock (co-captain), Wycliff Palu, Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe, Guy Shepherdson, Scott Staniforth, Lote Tuqiri, Dan Vickerman, Phil Waugh (co-captain).

 

365 Digital

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