Wallabies get major boost for Euro trip
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Wallabies have been boosted by confirmation Japan-based trio Samu Kerevi, Sean McMahon and Quade Cooper will be available for the side’s four end-of-year Tests.
Chasing a fourth-straight win in Saturday’s final Rugby Championship clash against Argentina, Dave Rennie’s side will next month play Japan in Oita before a tour of Europe where they’ll meet Scotland, England and Wales.
The form of Kerevi and Cooper has been instrumental with the former transforming their attack while the side has been unbeaten in three games since Cooper’s shock call-up, rising from seventh to third in the world rankings.
Backrow McMahon will come off the bench for his first Test in four years on Saturday on the Gold Coast, where it’s hoped the 27-year-old will show why there has been such excitement about his second Wallabies coming.
Both Kerevi (37 Tests) and McMahon (26) were previously unable to play for the Wallabies under the 60-Test qualification placed on overseas players, but that was relaxed this year.
Rennie said Suntory Sungoliath pair Kerevi and McMahon, as well as Kintetsu Liners star Cooper, all had their clubs’ blessing despite the October-November tour eating well into their preseason.
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“Suntory have been fantastic. They’re very keen for them to play a bit of international footy and it works out nicely for them based on their schedule,” Rennie said.
As many as 44 players have been involved in Australia’s Test squad this year but Rennie said “35, maybe 36” would give him enough options.
Depth has been built to the point where the likes of Harry Wilson and Hunter Paisami, who both played every Test last year, can’t crack the 23-man squad.
Rugby Australia has taken the view a full Super Rugby preseason would be more beneficial for some, especially given the extended time away from home and being in COVID-19 bubbles since the competition was paused last year.