Coach Dave Rennie has selected Will Skelton, Tolu Latu and Rory Arnold in the 37-man Wallabies squad for their upcoming end-of-year tour of Europe.
The trio of tight forwards are the latest to benefit from the loosening of Australia’s eligibility rules, which formerly allowed only overseas-based players with at least 60 caps to be in contention.
They have been included in Rennie’s squad for the November Tests against Scotland at Murrayfield, England at Twickenham and Wales at the Millennium Stadium, but will not feature in the Wallabies’ pre-tour clash against Japan in Oita on 23 October.
La Rochelle’s Skelton last featured for Australia in 2016 before joining England’s Saracens from the NSW Waratahs, while Arnold (Stade Toulousain) and Latu (Stade Francais) earned their last caps in the Wallabies’ quarter-final loss to England at the 2019 World Cup.
Rennie also named four uncapped players including NSW Waratahs centre Izaia Perese, club teammate Lalakai Foketi, ACT Brumbies hooker Connal McInerney and Melbourne Rebels prop Pone Fa’amausili.
“Firstly we’re extremely grateful to be able to represent Australia on the world stage in the current environment and that’s something that’s not lost on this group,” said Rennie.
“We’ve been building as a squad over the past 18 months or so and to get a chance to head to the Northern Hemisphere and test ourselves against four really strong international sides is a great opportunity to learn more about ourselves.
“To have a few experienced players from overseas join us will no doubt help our development as we continue to grow and improve as a team,” he added.
The squad leaves for Japan next Wednesday in a rich vein of form after twice beating world champions South Africa then going back-to-back against Argentina in the 2021 Rugby Championship.
They were bolstered during this win streak by the added experience of Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon, who were all retained for the tour.
Rennie had been sweating on the fitness of powerful centre Kerevi, who suffered an ankle injury in their final match against Argentina and left the ground on crutches, but he appears ready to go again.
A notable omission was Noah Lolesio – the young playmaker started in all three losses to the All Blacks this season before being replaced by Cooper.
Others left behind include fellow youngsters Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight, who Rennie said would benefit from “a decent off-season to make the necessary shifts in their games to excel at Test level”.
Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Angus Bell, Quade Cooper, Filipo Daugunu, Pone Fa’amausili, Folau Fainga’a, Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu’u, Andrew Kellaway, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tolu Latu, Rob Leota, Tate McDermott, Connal McInerney, Sean McMahon, James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Jordan Petaia, Matt Philip, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Will Skelton, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachlan Swinton, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Tom Wright.
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