Wounded Wallabies forced to travel with newbies

Sun, 29 Oct 2017 05:23
Large michael cheika v springboks 2017 800

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has confirmed his 32-man squad for the upcoming Tour of Japan and the United Kingdom.

A cruel triple injury blow has ruled out rising stars Jack Dempsey (hamstring) and Jermaine Ainsley (ankle) while a persistent knee complaint has sidelined lock Rory Arnold.

Arnold’s injury has opened the door for Matt Philip and Blake Enever, with the pair earning a call-up following some impressive form in the National Rugby Championship for Perth Spirit and Canberra Vikings respectively.

Aside from the forced injury modifications, Cheika has again overlooked Quade Cooper.

Meanwhile, No.8 Ben McCalman grabbed his chance in his classy 55-minute cameo in the Wallabies 31-28 win over the Barbarians, to ensure a seat on the plane to Japan.

The squad has six uncapped players in total, which includes Development Players namely Jack Maddocks and Liam Wright, with an average age of just 25.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: "Lukhan [Tui] won't be available for the first two games of the tour because of his hamstring but we feel he will be ready for games three and four so it's worth bringing him.

"I wanted to give the opportunity to two new younger guys [at lock] who have had good Super Rugby seasons, and I think Matt Philip has improved out of sight from game one to the final round.

"Rory [Arnold] has a tear in his muscle and it's come away from the quad so he will have an operation to fix that and he will be out for about four to five weeks.

"Jack has torn two tendons in his hamstring so he will have an operation to re-attach those and it's a three to four-month return so he will be back next year for Super Rugby.

"We'll be looking to pick our best side for every Test of the tour. These are important matches and we want to build a consistent, winning mindset and that's something we want to pass onto next year's team," Cheika said.

Wallabies will depart for Yokohama on Tuesday ahead of their first-ever Test match on Japanese soil.

The tour also includes Tests against Wales, England and Scotland.

Australia Squad:

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Adam Coleman, Blake Enever, Tetera Faulkner, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, Matt Philip, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Lopeti Timani, Lukhan Tui, Jordan Uelese

Backs: Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Reece Hodge, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita, Kuridrani, Billy Meakes, Izaia Perese, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Henry Speight

Development Players:
Jack Maddocks
Liam Wright