Squad to face the British and Irish Lions tweaked as visitors arrival is imminent.
Coach Robbie Deans was forced to make three changes to his Wallabies’ preliminary squad for this month’s Test series against the British and Irish Lions following injuries in Super Rugby.
Deans had to seek replacements following injuries to winger Digby Ioane, lock Sitaleki Timani and flanker Scott Higginbotham.
Melbourne Rebels scrum-half Nick Phipps, NSW Waratahs lock Kane Douglas and Western Force loose forward Ben McCalman have all been added to the Wallabies squad.
The prospects of Timani and Higginbotham playing in the Lions series will be determined after they have scans for respective thumb and shoulder problems.
Timani left the field after sustaining a suspected broken thumb during the Waratahs’ 23-22 loss to the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday. He was to have scans on his return to Sydney.
Higginbotham dislocated his right shoulder during Saturday’s loss to the Queensland Reds, with the Melbourne Rebels skipper remaining in Brisbane for scans while the Wallabies assemble in camp.
“Hopefully I will be able to push on and be available for selection for the Lions,” Higginbotham said after the Rebels’ loss.
“The doctor told me if I don’t need surgery, I am playing. I will have some scans, a bit of rehab and get back into it.”
Ioane had surgery last week for cartilage damage in his left knee after returning home from Queensland’s recent two-match tour of South Africa.
Deans said Ioane would be unable to train for some of the preparation time in the lead-up to the opening Test against the Lions in Brisbane on June 22.
“Digby is unable to train. His focus is on getting his knee right, which is why we’ve chosen to bring him in anyway, so our medical staff can oversee the process,” Deans said.
Douglas received his Test introduction last year against Argentina on the Gold Coast, while McCalman recently surpassed a half century of Super Rugby appearances for the Western Force.
The selection of Phipps, who played in nine Tests last year, joins Will Genia as the second scrum-half in the Wallabies’ squad.
Deans is scheduled to finalise his squad with six further additions on June 11.
The Wallabies face the Lions in three Tests in Brisbane on June 22, Melbourne on June 29 and Sydney on July 6.