Wallabies select uncapped duo

Genia and Hodgson set to make their international debuts

Last Updated: 02/07/09 10:30am

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Genia: Fresh face

Genia: Fresh face

Sky Bet

Robbie Deans has named two uncapped players in Australia's squad for the forthcoming Tri-Nations series with New Zealand and South Africa.

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Queensland Reds scrum-half Will Genia and Western Force loose forward Matt Hodgson are the only players in the 30-man squad never to make a Test appearance for their country.

Twenty one-year-old Genia is returning from a torn tendon injury in his finger to replace Josh Valentine, while number eight Wycliff Palu is also in the party.

There is no place for Lote Tuqiri, though, after the 67-Test winger's contract was terminated by the Australian Rugby Union, with Deans feeling the battle will be won up front rather than by the backs.

"If you look at the competition from a historical perspective, and more particularly look at the pointers from our experience last year; it is in the forward pack where our resources are most likely to come under stress," Deans said.

"With that in mind, and given the nature of playing resources that we have available to us at the moment in terms of players who we feel are capable at this level, we felt that a 17-13 split was the most appropriate mix for this tournament."

The Wallabies opens their Tri-Nations campaign against defending champions New Zealand on July 18 in Auckland.

Australia squad:
Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Ryan Cross, Will Genia, Matt Giteau, Peter Hynes, Drew Mitchell, Stirling Mortlock (captain), James O'Connor, Timana Tahu, Lachie Turner.
Forwards: Ben Alexander, Al Baxter, Richard Brown, Pek Cowan, Rocky Elsom, Matt Hodgson, James Horwill, Peter Kimlin, Stephen Moore, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe, George Smith, Phil Waugh.

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