Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named a 42-man squad with only one new name for Australia’s Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener against the All Blacks, a game threatened by COVID issues.
Brumbies forward Nick Frost is the only player selected for the first time in a Wallabies squad, while there are several returning players.
Izack Rodda is in the squad for the time under Rennie. Western Force teammate Tom Robertson also returns having last played in the 2018 Rugby Championship against South Africa.
Toulon’s Duncan Paia’aua is back after a longer break. He last played for the Wallabies in 2017 against the Barbarians as a No.10.
Nic White and Scott Sio have overcome knee and hamstring injuries, while Jordan Petaia is back after missing the 2-1 series win over France with a quad injury.
The 42-man squad contains eight uncapped players, with four others having made their debuts against France earlier this month.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “The connection this group is forming is growing every day and we’ve picked a squad of players here who are willing to work hard for each other.”
“We know we’ve still got a way to go to get to where we want to be but that challenge is exciting and something we’re looking forward to.
“We have a great opportunity coming up in the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Tests to build on the momentum we picked up during a tough French Series.”
The Wallabies are due to play the first game on August 7 in Auckland with two more Tests against New Zealand on August 21 in Perth, and August 28 in Wellington.
Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby are hopeful of government exemptions to allow players to take part despite the quarantine-free travel bubble between the countries being paused for two months.
Restrictions on travel from NSW and Victoria to New Zealand were already in place, but New Zealand extended the two-month ban to all of Australia. The Wallabies are based on the Gold Coast.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Officer Andy Marinos said: “We are working closely with New Zealand Rugby and the various Governments through different scenarios now.
“Rugby Australia’s position has always been to prioritise the health and safety of its players, staff and fans, and today’s announcement only reinforces that. We want to thank the Australian Government as well as the New Zealand Government for their support so far, as we aim for a positive outcome in the coming days.
“The Wallabies team have been in a secure bubble since the conclusion of the France Series, with the squad assembled on the Gold Coast. The players are regularly tested for Covid-19 and have maintained strict bio-security protocols as recommended by the Return To Play Committee and the relevant health authorities,” Marinos said.
Allan Alaalatoa (46, Brumbies, 27)
Tom Banks (14, Brumbies, 27)
Angus Bell (6, NSW Waratahs, 20)
Pone Fa’amausili* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 24)
Lalakai Foketi* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 26)
Nick Frost* (uncapped, Brumbies, 21)
Jake Gordon (8, NSW Waratahs, 28)
Reece Hodge (46, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
Michael Hooper (c) (108, NSW Waratahs, 29)
Len Ikitau (2, Brumbies, 22)
Feleti Kaitu’u* (uncapped, Western Force, 26)
Andrew Kellaway (2, Melbourne Rebels, 25)
Marika Koroibete (37, Melbourne Rebels, 28)
Rob Leota* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 24)
Noah Lolesio (5, Brumbies, 21)
Lachlan Lonergan (2, Brumbies, 21)
Ryan Lonergan* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)
Tate McDermott (5, Queensland Reds, 22)
Fraser McReight (1, Queensland Reds, 22)
Andy Muirhead* (uncapped, Brumbies, 29)
Isi Naisarani (11, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
James O’Connor (55, Queensland Reds, 31)
Brandon Paenga-Amosa (12, Queensland Reds, 25)
Duncan Paia’aua* (uncapped, Toulon, 26)
Hunter Paisami (9, Queensland Reds, 23)
Jordan Petaia (8, Queensland Reds, 21)
Matt Philip (12 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 27)
Tom Robertson (24, Western Force, 26)
Izack Rodda (25, Western Force, 24)
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (28, Queensland Reds, 24)
Pete Samu (10, Brumbies, 29)
Scott Sio (68, Brumbies, 29)
James Slipper (103, Brumbies, 32)
Darcy Swain (3, Brumbies, 24)
Lachlan Swinton (2, NSW Waratahs, 24)
Matt To’omua (57, Melbourne Rebels, 31)
Taniela Tupou (28, Queensland Reds, 25)
Jordan Uelese (13, Melbourne Rebels, 24)
Rob Valetini (7, Brumbies, 22)
Nic White (37, Brumbies, 31)
Harry Wilson (8, Queensland Reds, 21)
Tom Wright (5, Brumbies, 24)