Six new caps named in Australia squad to face England
Coach Dave Rennie says team is preparing to put in performances that make their supporters proud
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie called up six uncapped players on Sunday, including former rugby league standout Suliasi Vunivalu, for July’s blockbuster three-Test series against England.
Rennie had already confirmed that the three overseas-based picks allowed him under Australia’s “Giteau Law” would be flyhalf Quade Cooper with Fijian-born backs Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete.
Vunivalu adds a third power-running Fijian threat to the mix, the winger forcing himself into contention in his past few games for the Queensland Reds after an injury-blighted start to his career in the 15-man game.
The other uncapped players in the squad were Melbourne Rebels tighthead prop Pone Fa’amausili, Brumbies locks Nick Frost and Cadeyrn Neville as well as Waratahs hooker Dave Porecki and second rower Jed Holloway.
Lock Izack Rodda, who has been in fine form for Western Force this season, will be sidelined for up to three months with a foot injury, said Rennie.
The core of the 35-man squad is largely settled, as would be expected with the World Cup coming up in France next year, but there was no place for experienced utility back Reece Hodge.
“The past two years have allowed us to build strong foundations as a group but there’s no doubt we have a lot more in us,” Rennie said.
“We’re looking forward to working hard and preparing as a group to put in performances that make our supporters proud against England next month.”
England swept the Wallabies 3-0 on their last tour Down Under in 2016 and their 32-15 win at Twickenham last November was an eighth straight victory over Australia going back to the 2015 World Cup.
The series begins at Perth Stadium on July 2 with Tests following at Brisbane’s Lang Park and the Sydney Cricket Ground over the next two weekends.
Australia squad: Forwards: Dave Porecki, Lachlan Lonergan, Folau Fainga’a, Taniela Tupou, Scott Sio, Allan Alaalatoa, Pone Fa'amausili, James Slipper, Angus Bell, Matt Philip, Jed Holloway, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain, Michael Hooper (capt), Pete Samu, Harry Wilson, Rob Valetini, Rob Leota. Backs: Nic White, Tate McDermott, Jake Gordon, Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, Noah Lolesio, Samu Kerevi, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Len Ikitau, Marika Koroibete, Andrew Kellaway, Tom Banks, Suliasi Vunivalu, Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia.
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