Wallabies inside centre Anthony Faingaa was nursing a rolled ankle and second rower Sitaleki Timani sporting a bleeding eye after another brutal training session preparing for the All Blacks.
The Wallabies have been treating their recent practices as if they are Test matches in their campaign to win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in a decade.
With Faingaa sidelined, the Wallabies used Adam Ashley-Cooper at inside centre and Drew Mitchell on the wing yesterday. But Faingaa is scheduled to again train tomorrow, and is expected to start the Test.
Timani also required attention at Leichhardt Oval when he suffered a cut above his eye during an opposed session. He was soon strapped up, and was back in the fray- knowing exactly the same will occur at ANZ Stadium in a few days.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is delighted when his players go hard at each other, believing it brings the required hardness to a team that has often fallen away when placed under pressure. His sessions often involve opposed work, and match situations, with the Test team regularly playing against the reserves and backup squad members.
Earlier despite surprise in some sections of the media that Quade Cooper was not beckoned back into the 22-man squad for this Test, Deans explained that retaining Berrick Barnes at No 10 was the only option after his excellent performances during the successful three-Test series against Wales.
"His selection (at No 10) was pretty straight forward," Deans said when announcing the Test team. "And after playing well against Wales, I'm after more of the same from Berrick, especially as he is well versed in what we're doing."
Deans said Cooper was returning to full fitness, but still had some way to go, while the inclusion of Drew Mitchell on the bench ahead of the Reds No 10 was due to the importance of having to cover several outer back positions.
"Quade is not quite on top of his fitness yet, but he has had a couple of club games and getting back into it. Quade was an option but in the end it was pretty obvious Berrick was the first choice," Deans said.
Well aware that Barnes's career was in jeopardy around 12 months ago because of recurring bouts of concussion, Deans said: "This year hasn't been without its challenges for him either."
"You look at some of the frustrations of the Waratahs season, and it wasn't easy for him. But he hit the ground running during the June Test series."
Adding to the pressure, Barnes will hold onto the goalkicking duties, with fullback Kurtley Beale his backup.
Deans also wants Faingaa fully fit, explaining that his selection in the centre, in place of the injured Pat McCabe, was due to him 'always making an impact.'
"He is someone other players feed off, because he provides a lot of voice, and also enjoys the contest," Deans said.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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