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Another European-based star dropped in latest Wallabies squad

If Michael Cheika goes head to head with the Super Rugby coaches, who wins? (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
22nd September, 2016
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Drew Mitchell is the biggest casualty in Michael Cheika’s squad for the Wallabies’ upcoming matches.

Mitchell has been released from the 30-man squad for the final two Rugby Championship matches against South Africa and Argentina to return to Toulon and gain some match fitness.

The 32-year-old has featured just once for the Wallabies in 2016, coming off the bench in Australia’s Brisbane clash against South Africa.

Cheika has also resisted naming backrower Ben McCalman due to concerns about match-fitness after he big man recently overcame a broken scapula.

“We’re happy with how Drew and Ben are progressing. The best thing for both players is to play some regular rugby to get themselves back to full form and fitness,” Cheika said.

Kyle Godwin, Will Skelton, and Toby Smith have also been axed from the squad.

The Wallabies might also cap their 900th player with Rebels flyer Sefa Naivalu and NSW Country Eagles hooker Tolu Latu receiving call-ups.

Latu has been in impressive form for the Eagles in the National Rugby Championship, as they top the ladder after four straight wins to open the competition, and he gets his chance with Tatafu Polota-Nau succumbing to an arm injury.

“It is disappointing for Tatafu, who has been one of the most consistent and valued members of our finishers off the bench, he needs time to get his body right, and we respect that,” Cheika said.

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“With injury comes opportunity, and this is the opportunity now for Tolu to make his step up to International rugby.

“All our newly capped players this season have taken their chances with both hands, and I expect Tolu to do the same, which should give all our fans confidence in the future.”

If either Latu or Naivalu manages to secure a debut performance over the next fortnight, they will become the tenth Wallaby to debut in 2016.

Reds halfback Nick Frisby has received a squad recall and will be looking to add to his two-Test tally and will battle Will Genia for the starting spot.

The Wallabies have won ten out the last fifteen fixtures against the Springboks, but have not won in South Africa since August 2011 where they were victors at Kings Park, 14-9.

The Wallabies continue their Rugby Championship campaign against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria on Sunday, October 2 (1.05am AEST) before taking on Argentina at Twickenham Stadium, London on Sunday, October 9 (5.30am AEST).

Wallabies 30-man squad to tour South Africa and England for The Rugby Championship

Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies)
Rory Arnold (Brumbies)
Adam Coleman (Force)
Quade Cooper (Reds)
Kane Douglas (Reds)
Scott Fardy (Brumbies)
Israel Folau (Waratahs)
Bernard Foley (Waratahs)
Nick Frisby (Reds)
Will Genia (Stade Francais)
James Hanson (Rebels)
Dane Haylett-Petty (Force)
Reece Hodge (Rebels)
Michael Hooper (Waratahs)
Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)
Samu Kerevi (Reds)
Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)
Tolu Latu* (Waratahs)
Sean McMahon (Rebels)
Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
Luke Morahan (Force)
Dean Mumm (Waratahs)
Sefanaia Naivalu* (Rebels)
Nick Phipps (Waratahs)
Tom Robertson (Waratahs)
Rob Simmons (Reds)
Scott Sio (Brumbies)
James Slipper (Reds)
Henry Speight (Brumbies)
Lopeti Timani (Rebels)