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Sharpe left out of Australia squad

Reserve half-back Luke Burgess will make his Australia return in Saturday's Bledisoe Cup clash with New Zealand in Auckland after injury, but veteran lock Nathan Sharpe's World Cup dream is in jeopardy after he was left out of the 24-man touring party.

Burgess returns at the expense of Nick Phipps after recovering from a fractured hand suffered in a freak training accident prior to the Waratahs qualifying semi-final loss against the Blues in June.

But the big surprise is the omission of Sharpe, who was among the form Australian locks throughout Super Rugby and was a member of the 22 who beat the Springboks nine days ago.

Waratahs duo Dan Vickerman and Sitaleki Timani have both jumped ahead of the Western Force skipper in the pecking order after being named in the squad that will travel to Auckland on Wednesday.

Vickerman, who recently returned from a three-year stint at Cambridge University, has been rewarded for strong performances at club level and is likely to win the bench spot ahead of Timani who made his Test debut against Samoa.

Waratahs winger Lachie Turner is the 24th member of the touring party after some impressive showings for Shute Shield front runners Eastwood.

The Wallabies enter Saturday night's Test level with the All Blacks on five Tri Nations points after both sides easily accounted for the Springboks in their opening matches.

However, Robbie Deans' men face a daunting assignment as they look to end a 25-year Wallabies drought at Eden Park.

Squad: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Pek Cowan, Rocky Elsom (c), Anthony Fainga'a, Saia Fainga'a, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, James Horwill, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, James O'Connor, David Pocock, Rob Simmons, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner, Dan Vickerman.


From Belfast Telegraph