Wallabies send SOS to veteran prop

Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has called up veteran prop Greg Holmes to their Rugby Championship squad and the 38-year-old could write a piece of history if he faces the Springboks or Argentina.

Holmes has been drafted after Rebels prop Pone Fa’amausili suffered an injury, with travel restrictions limiting additions to the squad.

The 38-year-old, who played the last of his 27 Tests in 2016, will likely remain in the squad for the rest of the Rugby Championship. He could become the oldest player to represent the Wallabies since World War II if he plays in any of the next four Tests against the Springboks or Argentina.

Holmes made close to 150 appearances for the Reds between 2005 and 2016, before he left the Queensland side to spend five years with the Exeter Chiefs in England. He recently returned to Australia in 2020 after signing for the Western Force.

Speaking to reporters in Australia, Holmes admitted that he was already thinking about a coaching career when he got the call from Rennie.

“It was a bit of a strange one,” Holmes explained. “I was sitting at a table with [Dave] at a Bledisloe lunch. I was doing a bit of coaching with the Force and asked if I watch a couple of unit sessions and assumed it was about that.

“When I rang him back, he said, ‘Mate, we’ve had a few injuries and setbacks, do you want to train for the week and potentially the next month?’ so it caught me a bit off guard.

“I’ve got a lot of learning to do over the next week or two to get myself into a position where I’ll be right to play.”

Holmes is not the first veteran to have been called up to Rennie’s squad for the tournament. Experienced flyhalf Quade Cooper was also recalled, due to an injury to James O’Connor.

Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

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Dylan Jack