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Veterans set for big send off

NZRU

Sportal.co.nz     05 Jul 2007     NZRU

Gregan, a veteran of 132 Tests, and his long-time halves counterpart Larkham will play their last match for the Wallabies in Australia at Telstra Stadium, as the pair prepare for a World Cup finale later this year.

"They are virtually icons of Australian sport," Connolly said.

"We've just been so blessed in this country to have such incredibly consistent players playing in two of our key positions over the past 12 or so years."

"They are two great warriors of Australian sport and I'm sure they will receive a fitting farewell from the supporters on Saturday night in what is such a crucial Test for the Wallabies."

The match will also be Larkham's 100th Test for the Wallabies as he joins Gregan and David Campese (101) as the only players to register a century of caps for Australia.

Injury-plagued lock Hugh McMeniman has been added to the reserves bench and could make his return to the Wallabies for the first time since the 2005 Spring Tour.

Stephen Hoiles is in line for make his debut in the starting XV after coming off the reserves bench for the injured Wycliff Palu, while David Lyons takes Hoiles' place on the bench.

Adam Freier also has the opportunity to make his first appearance in the starting line-up this season after hooker Stephen Moore was ruled out with a sternum injury.

Freier's elevation gives Queensland and Australia A hooker Sean Hardman the chance to win his third Test cap for the Wallabies after being called into the squad on standby for the injured Moore on Monday.

Wing Lote Tuqiri is serving a two-match suspension for breaching team standards twice within two years and his place on the right wing has been awarded to Mark Gerrard, while Drew Mitchell returns to the side on the reserves bench.

Wallabies team to play South Africa: 1 - Matt Dunning, 2- Adam Freier, 3 - Guy Shepherdson, 4 - Nathan Sharpe, 5 - Dan Vickerman, 6 - Rocky Elsom, 7 - George Smith, 8 - Stephen Hoiles, 9 - George Gregan, 10 - Stephen Larkham, 11 - Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 - Matt Giteau, 13 - Stirling Mortlock, 14 - Mark Gerrard, 15 - Julian Huxley.

Reserves: 16 - Sean Hardman, 17 - Al Baxter, 18 - Hugh McMeniman, 19 - David Lyons, 20 - Phil Waugh, 21 - Scott Staniforth, 22 - Drew Mitchell.