Former Wallabies mentor Rod Macqueen has advised current Australia coach Robbie Deans to get rid of players getting a bit long in the tooth well before the British and Irish Lions tour in 2013.
Macqueen led the Wallabies to World Cup glory in 1999 and subsequently oversaw a clear-out of senior players ahead of the Lions tour in 2001 which the new-look Wallabies won 2-1 - their only victory over the team from the British Isles.
"We let a lot of players go a year before knowing that the Lions series was on in 2001," Macqueen told sportal.co.nz.
"Halfway through the year players like (Tim) Horan, (Jason) Little and (David) Wilson were let go early knowing we had to play some other players in their place and have them ready for the next year. That is something we're going to need to think about next year," Macqueen added.
Although the Wallabies are one of the most youthful teams on the international stage, there are a few forwards, like former captain Rocky Elsom, Reds loose forward Radike Samo, 100 Test veteran Nathan Sharpe and his second row partner Dan Vickerman who are all close to or already past 30 and Macqueen believes that they should be discarded sooner rather than later.
Deans has already made some big calls in his time as Wallabies coach, ending the Test careers of star players such as Stirling Mortlock, Matt Giteau and Phil Waugh which suggests that he will not be scared to watch more big names fall by the wayside.
Macqueen believes that it is crucial that the older players are dropped soon in order to give their replacements enough opportunity to gain the necessary experience ahead of what will be a major test for the current Tri-Nations champions.
"We need to make sure we have those players ready because that's going to be our main next goal, to be successful against the Lions."
"With our new crop of young players we will be pretty well placed. I expect it will be a very competitive and closely fought series," he said.
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