Rugby: Cooper still on the outer with Deans

Lions coach Warren Gatland has distanced himself from spying allegations levelled at the Wallabies. Photo / Janna Dixon
Lions coach Warren Gatland has distanced himself from spying allegations levelled at the Wallabies. Photo / Janna Dixon

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has confirmed playmaker Quade Cooper won't be one of the six additions to his squad to play the Lions, although troubled fullback Kurtley Beale will be.

However, Deans did leave open the possibility of Cooper playing a part in the series should injury strike key players.

An expanded Wallabies squad assembled at Caloundra in Queensland yesterday to continue preparations for the test series against the Lions starting on June 22.

The final squad of 31 is expected to be named late today with six more players to be added but Deans confirmed that Cooper would not be one of them.

"We've obviously not included him [Cooper] in the additional six at this stage, but as you've seen [with injuries], things happen quickly," said Deans.

"This is a three-test campaign and nothing surprises you in this industry.

"Quade is a huge talent; we understand what he is capable of," Deans said.

"We've now settled on the squad and we'll get on with our opportunity."

Deans said watching Saturday night's match between the Queensland Reds captained by Cooper and the touring Lions "probably just reaffirmed where we're at".

Meanwhile, Lions coach Warren Gatland has distanced himself from spying allegations levelled at the Wallabies.

Gatland yesterday moved to clarify comments he made after the Lions' 22-12 win over Queensland which seemed to suggest the Australian camp had secretly taped a closed training session in Perth last week.

He denied he alleged the Wallabies were directly involved when a spectator was chased out of training by fitness staff and made to delete footage.

"I said that the Australian team were videoing us in our game [against the Western Force] last week in Perth from behind the field which they are perfectly entitled to," he said. "I said we threw some punter out of training [at nib Stadium] that was videoing us, that was all.

"If Australia try to video us, I've got no worries about that so there's no allegations of spying.

Gatland hosed down the controversy after naming his team for tomorrow night's clash with Combined Country at Newcastle, the tourists' fourth tour match.

Midweek lineup

Lions team to play Combined Country at Newcastle tomorrow: Sean Maitland, Alex Cuthbert, Brian O'Driscoll (c), Jamie Roberts, George North, Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray, Jamie Heaslip, Justin Tipuric, Sean O'Brien, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Dan Cole, Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero. Res: Rory Best, Ryan Grant, Matt Stevens, Alun Wyn Jones, Toby Faletau, Mike Phillips, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny.

- AAP

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