Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Door still open for stars - Deans

Robbie Deans will work with a group of 30 players in a logistics camp in Sydney
Robbie Deans will work with a group of 30 players in a logistics camp in Sydney

Australia coach Robbie Deans insists the door is still open for Kurtley Beale to play against the British and Irish Lions - but admitted playmaker Quade Cooper needs to improve if he is to gain selection.

Beale and Cooper have been left out of a 30-man logistics camp to be held in Sydney from Sunday afternoon. While the camp is not an official team selection, it is an indication of where players stand two months out from the opening Test in Brisbane, with former rugby league international Israel Folau one of seven uncapped players invited to attend.

But Deans insisted players can still play their way in and out of his line-up for the June 22 Test at Suncorp Stadium, including Beale and Cooper.

"Kurtley's obviously not playing at the moment, he's sought help which is great and he's going through a counselling process," Deans said of Beale, who is taking an indefinite break from the game to deal with personal issues relating to alcohol following a fight with Melbourne Rebels team-mates on a recent trip to South Africa.

"That's a great first step for Kurtley but he's got to go through that and that'll run its course, and if and when he becomes available obviously we'd consider it (selecting him) then. He'd return to the Rebels and play so we'd obviously observe with interest and go from there.

"There's still some boxes he has to tick but if and when he comes back and plays...there's still a lot of rugby to be played and a lot of opportunity for everyone to press their claims."

Deans delivered a modest assessment of Cooper's form, casting further doubt on the Reds star's involvement in the series.

"I think Quade is working his way back, he's starting to put some good pieces together," Deans said. "We've talked routinely and he's very clear, he understands what's required at this level.

"He's got a good insight into what we're looking for and we can see him working at that stuff as well, so that's good."

The list of 30 players chosen for Sydney camp is: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs), Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds), Joe Tomane (Brumbies), Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs), Ben Tapuai (Queensland Reds), Pat McCabe (Brumbies), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs), James O'Connor (Melbourne Rebels), Nic White (Brumbies), Will Genia (Queensland Reds), Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs), Fotu Auelua (Brumbies), Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs), Liam Gill (Queensland Reds), Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs), Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels), Ben Mowen (Brumbies), Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds), James Horwill (Queensland Reds), Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs), Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs), Dan Palmer (Brumbies), James Slipper (Queensland Reds), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs).

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