Reinforcements called in for injured Wallabies

Last updated 18:01 23/06/2013
George Smith
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STEPPING UP: George Smith will start for the Brumbies in their playoff clash against the Cheetahs.

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Brumbies flanker George Smith is among three players called up to join the injury-ravaged Wallabies ahead of Saturday night's must-win second Test against the British and Irish Lions.

Smith, his Brumbies teammate Jesse Mogg and Queensland Reds centre Ben Tapuai have been added to the squad following Saturday night's 23-21 loss in the opening Tom Richards Cup Test in Brisbane.

Reinforcement was called on Sunday due to injuries that have placed inside centre Pat McCabe (neck), winger Digby Ioane (shoulder), centre Adam Ashley-Cooper (shoulder) and fullback Berrick Barnes (head knock) in doubt.

All four players were sent for scans after the game with their selection prospects for the second Test against the Lions to be determined in the early part of the week.

The status of inside centre Christian Leali'ifano, who was knocked out in the opening tackle of the night at Suncorp Stadium, will also be reviewed further once the Wallabies settle in Melbourne.

Tapuai, 24, who last appeared for Australia on last year's Spring Tour, is comfortable at both inside and outside centre and has played seven Tests for the Wallabies since debuting against Wales in 2011.

Six of those matches came last year.

Mogg is uncapped, but was involved in the Wallabies' preliminary squad last year after a rookie Super Rugby season which saw him appear in all but two of the matches the Brumbies played.

The 24-year-old fullback has again been a standout this season, helping the Brumbies to the top of the Australian conference.

Smith, who returned to Australia this year on a short-term contract with the Brumbies, last represented his country against Wales in Cardiff in 2009 during a match the Wallabies won 33-12.

That was the 110th Test of a stellar career which saw him end as his country's most capped forward, although he has since been overtaken by lock Nathan Sharpe, who retired last year with 116 appearances.

Four years after his last Test, he is still Australia's third most capped player behind his former Brumbies and Wallabies captain George Gregan, who appeared in 139 Tests.

Smith, who is based with Japanese club Suntory, was cleared by the Australian Rugby Union to play in the Lions series after extending his contract with the Brumbies through until the end of the Super Rugby competition.

However a knee injury sustained during the Brumbies' loss to the NSW Waratahs in Sydney last month, put the hopes of a Test return on hold while he underwent rehabilitation.

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Now back running, Smith has been called into camp so that the Wallabies coaching and medical staff can assess his readiness for a Test return, with no decision on potential availability for Saturday's second Test to be made until later in the week.

- AAP

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