David Pocock is a chance to make his Wallabies return against the All Blacks next week having been named in Australia’s squad for the first Bledisloe Cup match of the year.
Pocock has been troubled all year by a calf injury, but his hopes of appearing in what would be a third World Cup later in the year have been boosted by his inclusion in the side for next Saturday’s clash at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Another notable inclusion in the squad is Jordan Petaia. Considered one of Australian rugby’s most talented young players, the Queensland Red is still yet to make his international debut.
He was named in the team to play Italy on last year’s Spring Tour for what would have been his first Test cap but was forced to withdraw through injury, and was forced to sit out most of the 2019 Super Rugby season after a lisfranc injury sustained in Round 3. He made his rugby comeback a couple of weeks ago with an outing in Brisbane club rugby.
“It’s great to see Jordan back,” Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said.
“He’s had a few games of club rugby under his belt now so we’ll look to integrate him this week in Perth and give him time to settle in.
“We were pleased to get the win against Argentina and we felt we built on some things from the previous game against South Africa and now we’ll be looking to build on that.
“There’s strong belief in the group and it’s showing itself in how hard they’re training and how committed they are to doing whatever they need to do to achieve our goals.”
The 36-man squad also contains forwards Allan Alaalatoa, Adam Coleman and Tatafu Polota-Nau, who have missed games recently due to injury. However there’s still no sign of Pete Samu, who wasn’t able to play in the Brumbies’ Super Rugby semi-final defeat to the Jaguares on account of a hamstring complaint.
There are few other changes, with Cheika and his selection panel largely sticking with the same group of players picked for the first two Rugby Championship matches of the year.
Allan Alaalatoa (32 Tests, Brumbies, 25)
Rory Arnold (21 Tests , Brumbies, 29)
Adam Coleman (31, Melbourne Rebels, 28)
Folau Fainga’a (9 Tests, Brumbies, 24)
Michael Hooper (c) (93 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 27)
Luke Jones (4 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)
Sekope Kepu (105 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 33)
Tolu Latu (12 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)
Isi Naisarani (2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)
David Pocock (77 Tests, Brumbies, 31)
Tatafu Polota-Nau (89 Tests, Leicester, 34)
Izack Rodda (19 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)
Rob Simmons (96 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (13, Queensland Reds, 23)
Scott Sio (56 Tests, Brumbies, 27)
James Slipper (88 Tests, Brumbies, 30)
Taniela Tupou (13 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)
Jordan Uelese (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 22)
Rob Valetini (uncapped, Brumbies, 20)
Liam Wright (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 21)
Adam Ashley-Cooper (117 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 35)
Tom Banks (4 Tests, Brumbies, 25)
Kurtley Beale (85 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)
Bernard Foley (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
Will Genia (102 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 31)
Dane Haylett-Petty (32 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)
Reece Hodge (35 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)
Samu Kerevi (27 Tests, Queensland Reds, 25)
Marika Koroibete (21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 27)
Tevita Kuridrani (60 Tests, Brumbies, 28)
Christian Leali’ifano (20 Tests, Brumbies, 31)
James O’Connor (45 Tests, Queensland Reds, 29)
Jordan Petaia (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 19)
Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 25)
Matt Toomua (44 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)
Nic White (22 Tests, Exeter Chiefs, 29)