Wallabies duo to skip UK tour
NEWS: The Wallabies will complete their end-of-year tour with a Samu Kerevi-sized hole after he and fellow Japan-based talent Sean McMahon opted to withdraw and instead complete pre-season training for their club.
The Wallabies will play Scotland, England and Wales next month in Tests that fall within the designated international window, meaning Rugby Australia could demand the pair be released.
But neither were eligible to play for their country when signed by Japanese club giants Suntory Sungoliath in 2020 and 2018 respectively, the duo only returning to the Test fray this year when Rugby Australia loosened eligibility rules for the Rugby Championship.
Australian coach Dave Rennie had been confident the pair would feature but RA’s diplomatic approach with their employer has stalled ahead of a January 7 Top League season start.
They’re yet to be officially ruled out of the tour by Rugby Australia, but it’s understood after meetings that dragged late into Monday that the pair opted to remain in Japan rather than join the squad as originally planned.
Loose forward McMahon made just one bench cameo but Kerevi was key to the side’s resurgence, breaking the line and creating space for fellow returnee Quade Cooper to control the contest in the No.10 jersey.
They won four straight Tests with Kerevi in the No.12 jersey, jumping from seventh to third in the world rankings.
An ankle injury ruled him out of Saturday’s Test against Japan and his absence was felt in a narrow win, replacement Hunter Paisami unable to create the same go-forward.
Dave Rennie is set to welcome France-based trio Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu into the squad this week.
Versatile back Kurtley Beale could also come into the reckoning as cover at fullback, given injury to Reece Hodge and Tom Banks in recent Tests has damaged their No.15 stocks.
Last-start wings Andrew Kellaway and Jordan Petaia are both options to play fullback against Scotland, while hard-running centre Izaia Perese could also make his Test debut on November 7.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) October 24, 2021