Rugby: McCalman ready to step up for Wallabies

Versatile back-rower Ben McCalman is a bench bolter for the Wallabies in a shock move for Saturday night's series decider against the British and Irish Lions. Photo / Getty Images.
Versatile back-rower Ben McCalman is a bench bolter for the Wallabies in a shock move for Saturday night's series decider against the British and Irish Lions. Photo / Getty Images.

Versatile back-rower Ben McCalman is a bench bolter for the Wallabies in a shock move for Saturday night's series decider against the British and Irish Lions.

Australia have confirmed McCalman will make his international return at Sydney's ANZ Stadium after failing to play a Test in 2012 due to injury.

The Western Force forward's inclusion in the 23-man squad presents an intriguing question over who else will line up in the Wallabies back-row and bench.

McCalman, who missed selection in Robbie Deans' initial 25-man squad six weeks ago, said he was covering blind-side flanker and No.8.

There have been question marks over incumbent No.8 Wycliff Palu's fitness and ability to overcome a lingering knee problem.

Veteran George Smith is also in the mix to play after overcoming a knee injury and Deans has said he wants improvement at the breakdown where young openside Michael Hooper was outpointed by Sam Warburton in the 16-15 second Test victory.

Deans may take a risk by playing six forwards and only two backs on the bench, including two back-rowers, or could possibly start with two ball-scavengers.

Queensland No.7 Liam Gill was influential when he came off the bench in Melbourne and could also be an option to start.

-AAP

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