Wallabies bring in a veteran for All Blacks Tests
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Veteran back Kurtley Beale was named in the Wallabies’ squad for two Rugby Championship clashes against New Zealand, but towering lock Rory Arnold was omitted for family reasons.
Beale returned from a stint in France with Racing 92 this year to sign for the Waratahs and keep himself in the frame to play at a fourth World Cup next year.
The 33-year-old playmaker was not included in Australia’s squad for their three-Test series against England in July or the previous four Rugby Championships matches as he recovered from a hamstring injury.
But he is on the verge of a 96th Test with Noah Lolesio and Hunter Paisami both needing to clear concussion tests to be considered for the rare midweek match on September 15 in Melbourne, which doubles as the first Bledisloe Cup game.
First-choice lock Arnold will not feature with his wife heavily pregnant, while usual captain Michael Hooper continues to be on mental health leave.
Cadeyrn Neville was the only other addition to the squad that won one and lost one against South Africa over the past fortnight, replacing Arnold after recovering from a knee injury sustained in the second Test against England in July.
“It’s great to be able to keep the core of our group together and welcome Cadeyrn back to the mob, while we wish Rory all the best for what’s an incredibly exciting time for him and his family,” said coach Dave Rennie.
“Kurtley is a welcome return to the squad after recovering from a long-term injury and will bring his passion for the jersey along with his wealth of experience at Test level.”
#ICYMI: Will Genia says young No.10 Noah Lolesio must be held accountable after the performance in Sydney ‘failed to fire a shot’. #RugbyChampionship #Australia #Wallabies #SouthAfrica #Springboks #AUSvRSA https://t.co/XLgFwVRoUB
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) September 8, 2022
Rennie’s men were handed a brutal 24-8 wake-up call by the Springboks in Sydney last weekend after beating them a week earlier in Adelaide.
To bring home the Bledisloe trophy for the first time since 2002, they must win at Docklands Stadium before repeating the feat at Eden Park in Auckland nine days later.
The final two rounds of matches will determine the fate of the Rugby Championship, which is wide open with only one point separating the table-topping All Blacks from Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
“We know how important these next two Tests are with silverware on the line and we’ll be expecting a response after the disappointment of last weekend’s loss,” said Rennie.
Australia squad: Allan Alaalatoa, Kurtley Beale, Angus Bell, Jock Campbell, Pone Fa’amausili, Folau Fainga’a, Lalakai Foketi, Bernard Foley, Nick Frost, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Jed Holloway, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, Rob Leota, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Cadeyrn Neville, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Matt Philip, David Porecki, Pete Samu, Scott Sio, James Slipper (captain), Darcy Swain, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.