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Fitness Race

Deans waits as clock ticks on Beale's fitness

Kurtley Beale looks set to start for Australia after Robbie Deans provisionally named the full-back in his starting XV to face New Zealand.

KURTLEY BEALE FACES a race against the clock if he is to be fit in time to take his place at full-back for Australia against New Zealand on Sunday.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has stuck with the same starting XV which edged past South Africa last weekend, giving Beale every opportunity to recover from a strain in his left hamstring.

The full-back came through this morning’s training session unscathed but Deans is anxious to take one last look before signing off on his team sheet.

“He’ll have to go again tomorrow morning to first of all show he’s had no ill-effects off the back of the work he did today,” Deans said this morning. “Then he’ll have to go again and convince himself firstly and us secondly that he’s good to go.”

A final decision will not be taken on Beale’s inclusion until after the captain’s run tomorrow with Adam Ashley-Cooper ready to shift from outside centre to 15 if necessary.

That change would force a further reshuffle in the backs with Anthony Faingaa stepping into midfield and Rob Horne moving up to the replacements’ bench.

Australia (provisional): Beale; O’Connor, Ashley-Cooper, McCabe, Ioane; Cooper; Genia; Kepu, Moore, Alexander; Vickerman, Horwill; Elsom, Pocock, Samo.

Replacements: Polota-Nau, Slipper, Simmons, McCalman, Burgess, Barnes, Faingaa.

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