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Palu rolling right back into form with Barnes burning for a call-up

Fit again … Wycliff Palu runs the ball during a Waratahs training session yesterday at Victoria Barracks after his big Wallabies showing at the weekend.

Fit again … Wycliff Palu runs the ball during a Waratahs training session yesterday at Victoria Barracks after his big Wallabies showing at the weekend. Photo: Getty Images

WYCLIFF PALU is on a roll and doing everything he can to stay on it.

Four days after making a commanding return to Test rugby with 46 gruelling minutes against the All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, the Wallabies No.8 was back training with the Waratahs in Sydney yesterday.

Not content to take the 10 days rest on offer to all Wallabies joining the end of year tour next weekend, Palu joined teammates Dave Dennis and Paddy Ryan in a skills and conditioning session with their home province at Victoria Barracks.

The menacing No.8, who made a crucial difference to Australia's attack with his ball carries and physical dominance at the weekend, is clearly keen to maintain and improve the fitness levels he displayed in his first Wallabies game since June. Palu missed the entire Rugby Championship after injuring his shoulder during the Waratahs' penultimate Super Rugby match in mid-July. It was a frustrating end to an otherwise positive season that had resulted in the Tongan-born forward deciding to stick with NSW - and Australia - instead of taking up an offer in Japan.

Palu's faith in his body and in the Waratahs' strength and conditioning staff was rewarded with selection to start against the All Blacks and his subsequent imposing performance. But considering the ups and downs of the past year, it was no surprise to see him back training this week.

Berrick Barnes has also spent the past week training with the Waratahs under new coach Michael Cheika as he recovers from a punctured lung sustained in the Wallabies' loss to the Springboks in Pretoria last month. He looked comfortable and supremely fit during the session, which is good news for the Wallabies, who name their 30-man touring squad in Sydney today. Barnes's expected return will give coach Robbie Deans some breathing space in the back line.

The loss of winger Dom Shipperley and an injury to his Reds teammate Digby Ioane put considerable pressure on the squad's wing stocks. But Barnes's addition and the continued adaptability of Adam Ashley-Cooper, plus Mike Harris's excellent recent performances, gives selectors options should they need to make changes at fullback, wing or in the midfield.

Former captain David Pocock is also expected to be named in the touring side that takes on France on November 10, followed by England, Italy and Wales. Although he remains subject to monitoring, Nathan Sharpe will retain the captaincy.

Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will be joined by Stephen Moore and rookie James Hanson, who made his debut against the All Blacks in place of Reds teammate Saia Faingaa.

Ben Alexander is expected to return to give Deans five props from which to choose when the Wallabies take on the big northern hemisphere teams. Alexander, still subject to injury clearance, would join Sekope Kepu and Benn Robinson, with James Slipper and Paddy Ryan travelling as back up.

Deans will have spent time running permutations on his loose forwards this week after Scott Higginbotham's two-Test suspension ruled him out of the France and England Tests. Palu and Radike Samo could cover his loss at No.8, while Dave Dennis and Sitaleki Timani can play at blindside as well as in the second row.

The Wallabies leave for France on November 3.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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