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Wallabies to rest ahead of Lions Tests

28th February 2013 08:46

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Wallabies huddle 2011 RWC

Several Wallabies will not play for their franchises against the Lions

Australia's Test players will be unavailable to play for their Super Rugby franchises in tour matches against the British and Irish Lions.

The Australian Rugby Union confirmed that a 25-man Wallabies squad will go into camp on June 2, well ahead of the three-Test series against the Lions which starts on June 22 in Brisbane.

This despite concerns from Australia's franchises who hoped their international players would be available for their own matches against the Lions.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said the preparation mirrored the approach to the last Lions tour in Australia in 2001, which the Wallabies won 2-1, and reflected "the primary objective to win the three-Test series."

However, Pulver revealed that some players might be released to play for their franchises as two potentially vital Australian derbies are scheduled to take place the weekend after the Test squad assembles.

The Brumbies face Melbourne Rebels in Canberra on June 7 and the Waratahs host the Western Force in Sydney two days later.

"If those Super Rugby matches have significant bearing on the competition standings, and finals spots are at stake, ARU will take that under serious consideration," Pulver said in a statement.

The Lions tour the southern hemisphere once every four years, alternating between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

In Australia, the Lions will be play nine matches, including the Tests and games against all five of Australia's Super Rugby franchises.