Eales tips clean sweep
By MITCHELL DALE
WALLABIES legend John Eales this week predicted Australia can make a clean sweep of its up-coming European tour, but in the same breath warned the trip will be no walk in the park.
The Wallabies had little trouble against Scotland and England in Australia this year, but Eales said both sides will be anything but easybeats on the own patches of dirt.
Eales said 2004 Six Nations champions France will also throw up a difficult challenge to the Aussies, who are coming off a reasonable, if not spectacular, winter.
"I certainly think Australia can beat everyone they will play against," he said.
"England will probably be their biggest challenge and France won the six Nations this year, but I think Australia is playing better than both of them.
"The team is pretty established and things are looking very positive."
But Eales, the Wallabies most-capped Test skipper, knows the UK nations will lift at home.
"England are always such a difficult side to beat on their home turf and so are France and Scotland," he warned.
"The English will definitely be a better side than they were in Australia (in June) when they were missing a few players."
Eales, who was at Bonville International Golf Resort for the Wallabies golf day on Wednesday, was pleased with the touring squad and welcomed the inclusion of young guns Stephen Hoiles and Drew Mitchell.
"I wasn't really surprised by any of the selections," he said.
"I have seen Drew Mitchell a bit this year with Queensland in the Super 12s and Stephen Hoiles in club rugby and I've been very impressed by both of them.
"They both have enormous potential and this will be a great learning experience for them."
The Wallabies are holding their final training camp in Coffs Harbour this week, with the squad leaving for Europe on October 30.
Australia will play tests against Scotland (November 6 and 20), France (November 13) and England (November 27).