Wallabies boss wants Giteau Law tweak
SPOTLIGHT: Coach Dave Rennie is set to push Rugby Australia’s board to allow four overseas-based players in his Wallabies squad given their injury crisis in the second row.
With blockbusting Japan-based centre Samu Kerevi heading to the Commonwealth Games as part of Australia’s Sevens team, Rennie was able to swap in veteran lock Rory Arnold.
Playing in France, Arnold joins Japan duo Quade Cooper and Marika Koroibete as his three overseas picks in the 36-man squad to face Michael Cheika’s Pumas in two Tests in Argentina next month.
Under the current Giteau Law, which was tweaked this year, Rennie is only able to select three stars but said he’d like the opportunity to pick all four with Kerevi back in time to take on South Africa in late August.
He felt there were special circumstances after losing a number of locks to injury.
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“The issue from a second row point of view is we’ve lost a number of guys for an extended period,” Rennie said on Thursday.
“Izack (Rodda) and Cadeyrn Neville are gone for an extended period and a guy who we brought in to give us a bit cover there, Ned Hanigan, went under the knife last week.
“We’re a little bit thin in the second row and we’re probably only one injury away from a fair bit of pressure there.
“We need to go back to the [RA] board and have a chat around where things are at.
“Maybe there are only three available anyway when it comes to the rest of the Rugby Championship, but we’ll assess things once we’re back from Argentina.”
Koroibete was the player of the series against England while Kerevi is a starting point for much of their attack out wide.
Cooper missed the three Tests with a calf injury but showed his value last year steering Australia to five successive wins.
Rennie said Arnold was no certainty to start the first Test against Argentina in Mendoza on August 6 given he’d been on holidays and was carrying a “niggle”.
“It’s fair to say he hasn’t been slogging it out in the last four weeks,” Rennie said.
“He’s had a bit of a holiday, he’s done a bit of running, picked up a little niggle, but we’re confident that he’ll tour.
“We’ll make a decision on whether we think we can get the body right for that first Test when we see how he turns up next week and the amount of work we can get into him in the next week-and-a-half.
“But he’s been in our environment before and he’ll understand the structures, so it’s just a case of trying to get the body right.”