CONFIRMED: Wallabies coach brings in overseas stars for England series
NEWS: Wallabies coach Dave Rennie on Thursday named Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete as Australia’s overseas selections for the July three-Test series against England.
Rennie, who is to name his 35-man squad on Sunday, is restricted to picking only three overseas-based players and said that the trio had been outstanding form for their clubs in Japan.
“It’s probably not that secret anyway but we’ve got Quade, Samu and Marika all coming back,” he told reporters at an event to unveil Sydney’s new Allianz Stadium.
“Quade and Samu are here in Sydney just getting medical checks, Marika went straight to Fiji to spend some time with his family and he’ll be back on the weekend,” said Rennie.
“It’s exciting. I’m not sure if you saw the [Japanese League One] final with Panasonic and Marika was phenomenal. He hasn’t lost any of his physicality or his work ethic, so we’re excited to see him back.”
Rennie said the 34-year-old Cooper had “a massive impact” when he joined the squad during the Rugby Championship last year and Kerevi “only played a handful of Tests and was nominated for [World Rugby] player of the year, which just highlights the impact that he had”.
The Wallabies coach said he could look beyond at other overseas-based players outside that trio following the England series, with Test matches looming against Argentina, the All Blacks and Springboks in the Rugby Championship.
That included giant La Rochelle lock Will Skelton, who was called up for last year’s end-of-year tour.
“We brought him in last year and he fitted in well. We’re not looking at bringing him in for England series but maybe after that,” he said.
Rennie will also name a 30-man Australia A squad to play Tonga, Samoa and Fiji as part of the Pacific Nations Cup in July and to develop more depth at international level.
He announced his plans as officials unveiled the opening fixtures for the new Sydney stadium, with the Wallabies to host the world champion Springboks in the first international event at the 42 500-seat venue on September 3.
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“We are extremely excited to be able to host the first-ever international event at the new Allianz Stadium,” Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said.
“To have the Wallabies taking on the world champion Springboks in front of over 40 000 supporters is going to be an amazing experience, and one I’m sure those in attendance will never forget.”
The state-of-the-art stadium provides rain cover for all spectators, with clear sight-lines to the pitch and multiple video screens.
The Wallabies play three Tests against England on July 2, 9 and 16, to be followed by two Tests each against Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere’s Rugby Championship in August and September.
Additional source: AAP