Burgess gets all clear

Brisbane - Australia's backline depth for the Rugby World Cup has been boosted by the expected return of scrumhalf Luke Burgess this week and a declaration by Berrick Barnes that he's ready to come back for the Wallabies following a self-imposed career break brought on by a series of head knocks.

Australia coach Robbie Deans confirmed on Monday that Burgess was available for selection for this weekend's Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Auckland, five weeks after breaking his hand ahead of the Waratahs' Super 15 playoff match against the Blues.

Deans will name his 22-man squad on Tuesday, with Burgess likely to get a call up in place of Nick Phipps as reserve scrumhalf for Will Genia.

Barnes, meanwhile, scored 27 points in University's 57-20 win over Northern Suburbs in a Sydney club match on the weekend.

On June 13, Barnes announced he was taking an indefinite break from rugby, but was hopeful of returning in time to gain selection for the World Cup.

He has played two club matches since returning to rugby and says it has given him a confidence boost.

"I definitely feel I could be part of the (Australian) training squad. I feel good enough," Barnes was quoted as saying in Monday's The Australian newspaper. "These games have been very beneficial."

Deans is expected to announce his World Cup squad on August 18.

Australia opened its international season with an upset loss to Samoa in Sydney before rebounding to beat a below-strength South Africa squad 39-20 the following weekend in the opening match of the Tri-Nations tournament.

New Zealand thrashed South Africa 40-7 last weekend and is set to be close to full strength for Saturday's match against the Wallabies.

Naomi Tsurumi 2011-08-01 09:09:03 AM
This is a short note for my mates Derek in Howick & Derek in Capetown. What the article does not say is that our favourite ex son of the republic, Dan Vickerman played his second full game for University too. He is coming back with a vengeance & will be in the WC thirty for sure. Also on the way back is Tatafu Polota Nau & we think Wycliffe Palu & Ben Robinson. The other injured Wallaby who played for Sydney Southern District's Club on the weekend was Rob Horne (Waratahs outside centre). Wallaby flyer Drew Mitchell has started running again & so he too might make it back in time for the WC. Loose head James Slipper is also expected to begin playing in 3 weeks or so. Watch ex African David Pocock stick it to the 'blacks' captain Richie McCaw in the duel of the sevens next Saturday...& keep your eye on Scott Higginbotham when he comes off the bench. You guys better get your team sorted soon...make sure you play Patrick Lanbie at 10...he's a great youngster destined for big things. Warm Wishes to all....Ron Gibbs, Sydney..... 1 August 2011