Peter Betham fit for Wallabies duty
October 16, 2013
Peter Betham scored five tries for the Waratahs in Super Rugby 2013 © Getty Images
Peter Betham is set to debut for the Wallabies in the third Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin just 12 months after he was battling for a Super Rugby contract.
The New Zealand-born winger was rated New South Wales Waratahs' fourth-best winger at the start of the year, at best, but a strong Super Rugby season, netting five tries, and a host of injuries to Wallabies wingers has seen him added to the Wallabies squad for Dunedin.
With Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia ruled out with hamstring problems on Tuesday, and Nick Cummins yet to recover from a broken hand, Betham was added to the Wallabies squad as the only fit specialist winger. James O'Connor (suspended), France-bound Digby Ioane, Fiji-born Henry Speight (ineligible), Dom Shipperley (shoulder) and Rod Davies (knee) are also unavailable.
Australia's wing dramas had already forced coach Ewen McKenzie to move Adam Ashley-Cooper from his preferred position at outside centre for the last-start 54-17 win over Argentina. Now McKenzie could move Israel Folau to the wing instead of Betham, and elevate Bernard Foley, to fullback but that's unlikely after the All Blacks successfully limited Folau's involvement on the wing in the two Bledisloe Cup Tests in August.
Wingers Unavailable For The Wallabies
Betham, a 2006 Australian Schoolboys representative, starred for New South Wales in 2013 after failed stints with the Brumbies, Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels from 2008 to 2011, turning his career around with an eye-catching 2012 season with Tasman in the ITM Cup that resulted in an upgraded NSW contract.
The Wallabies included another New Zealand-born back in their travel squad on Wednesday, with Queensland utility Mike Harris likely to be picked as a reserve. Back-rowers Liam Gill and Dave Dennis are also among the 24-man squad and appear to be battling for a position on the bench.
Wallabies travel squad: James Slipper, Ben Alexander, Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, Saia Fainga'a, Stephen Moore, James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons, Sitaleki Timani, Dave Dennis, Liam Gill, Michael Hooper, Ben McCalman, Ben Mowen; Will Genia, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Matt Toomua, Mike Harris, Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Betham, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley.
Follow live text commentary of the Bledisloe Cup Test between New Zealand and Australia on Saturday, October 19 from 7pm (NZDT), 5pm (AEDT) and 6am (GMT)
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