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Hynes keen to sew up Wallabies wing spot
By Jim Morton
18:05 AEST Fri Jun 19 2009
Peter Hynes
Peter Hynes is eyeing a return to his award-winning Wallabies form on Saturday night against Italy.

Slick winger Peter Hynes aims to exacerbate Lote Tuqiri's woes with an immediate return to his award-winning Wallabies form on Saturday night against Italy.

Less than two months after Hynes feared his season was over, the 2008 Test rookie of the year has remarkably put a worrying knee injury to earn a Test start against the Azzurri at Etihad Stadium.

One of four changes from the 31-8 first Test victory in Canberra, the Queenslander will be fairly and squarely in the selectors' spotlight with a benchmark clash against a resurgent France only a week away.

Drew Mitchell and Lachie Turner, who retains his place on the right wing against Italy, have impressed in this month's opening two wins, while 67-Test veteran Tuqiri is the only fully fit member of the 30-man squad yet to get a Test call-up.

"You give someone else a chance and the boys on the wings have gone at it and played very well," Hynes said.

"This is my opportunity to go out there and show what I can do."

Deans has shown huge faith in the 26-year-old speedster after an injury-affected Super 14 campaign where he never shook off lingering knee problems, even after a mid-season operation.

Hynes admitted he returned too quickly from arthroscopic surgery and injured it twice more, the last time in a 51-13 hammering by the Brumbies when the Reds suffered a shocking injury toll.

He feared that was the end of his year.

"It was pretty frustrating and when I did it certainly didn't feel very good and I had to run around for the rest of the game because we didn't have any subs left.

"I was getting around on the skateboard, on one leg, it wasn't moving very well.

"I did think after I swelled up that I would have to go in for an (operation) again."

As well as Hynes' form and fitness, the second Test will be used to answer a host of coach Robbie Deans' question marks before playing Les Bleus in Sydney.

Deans wants to see whether inside centre Berrick Barnes can be legitimate Test No.10 by rotating Matt Giteau to the bench.

Highly rated by Deans, Barnes will also act as deputy to caretaker captain George Smith, while fullback James O'Connor will take over the goalkicking duties from Giteau.

First Test three-try hero O'Connor kicked impressively at the Wallabies captain's run on Friday morning after overcoming a stomach cramp which had him in slight doubt for the match.

Barnes has unfinished business against the Italians after starting at five-eighth in the 30-20 win in Padova in November before coming off after 10 minutes due to a serious knee injury.

Deans also wants distinct improvement at the breakdown, where Italian defenders slowed down the Australian ball in Canberra, and his green front-row of debutant Pek Cowan, experimental tighthead Ben Alexander and second-string hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau to aim up.

The Italians have just five players - including Australian backs Craig Gower and Luke McLean, and skipper Sergio Parisse at No.8 - who have retained their starting places from first Test.

But Parisse, who plays for Stade Francais, said the reshuffled side could take heart from France's 27-22 upset of the All Blacks.

"Anything is possible," he said. "If Australia don't play a good match and if we play good tough rugby, then maybe we beat them."


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