Sydney - Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has accepted that incumbent hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will not play a part in the British and Irish Lions series but is hoping flanker George Smith will still be available after both were injured on Saturday.
Polota-Nau fractured his forearm tackling Henry Speight just before during the Waratahs' 28-22 victory over the Brumbies, while Smith hobbled off on the hour mark with an injured knee.
Deans will name his preliminary 25-man squad for the Lions series on Sunday
and looks likely to be forced to consider a further option for the middle of
the front row.
"Tatafu right from the outset didn't look good so he'll be
devastated," Deans told Fox Sports after the match.
"You don't get the sort of opportunity the Lions series presents very
often and it looks like he'll be denied that now so that's very disappointing
for him and for us."
Smith, who won 110 caps before retiring from international rugby in 2010,
was cleared for selection for the series on Friday only after protracted
negotiations with his Japanese club.
An outstanding first half performance, where the 32-year-old had outplayed
incumbent openside Michael Hooper, would have banished any doubts that he
should have been given another crack at the Lions after playing all three tests
"It could be significant but let's hope not because he's very keen to
participate," Deans said of the injury.
"We only resolved his eligibility yesterday and he didn't look great
when he left but if he's talking positively, that's a good start."
Brumbies coach Jake White later said doctors feared Smith had suffered a
medial ligament injury, which would require surgery and rule him out of the
There were brighter moments for Deans in the performance of playmaker
Berrick Barnes, who turned the game for the Waratahs after coming on as a
replacement at halftime for only his third outing of the season.
The 26-year-old has the best tactical game of the flyhalves available to
Deans and played in the number 10 shirt in all three tests when Australia swept
Wales 3-0 at home last year.
That makes him an attractive backline option for Deans, who said he thought
Lions coach Warren Gatland would stick pretty much to the formula he had
developed as coach of the Welsh side.
"You've got to attack to win, you've got to find ways to unlock
teams," he said of his tactics.
"You've also got to deal with what's coming the other way. And I think
it's pretty evident what's going to be coming the other way ... they're going
to be direct, they're going to be physical.
"They will play, but they'll play more so after the gainline and with
the boot. They'll look to squeeze the life out of us, play a territorial game
and bring the ref into play.
"We know what's coming, what we've got to settle on is how we're going
to deal with what's coming and how we're going to unlock the game
Deans will add a further six players to his squad on June 11. The Lions play
the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1 and arrive in Australia the following