Sport

Wallabies name squad to battle All Blacks

Wallabies name squad to battle All Blacks”

Australia coach Michael Cheika said his revamp of the Wallabies was "in a good place" on Friday after he named seven uncapped players in his squad for the Rugby Championship opener against New Zealand.

The fourth new back is Reds' outside back Izaia Perese.

Rona crossed over from the NRL while Meakes served his apprenticeship in English club rugby before both joined the Force, where they developed a strong combination.

To those could now be added hooker Jordan Uelese, flanker Adam Korczyk and lock Izack Rodda as well as outside backs Izaia Perese, Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete and Curtis Rona, the latter two bolstering the contingent of rugby league converts. Ueelse, considered the most surprising selection, wins a callup for the August 19 test as Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu is out with a neck injury.

Yet another Reds lock, 20-year-old Izack Rodda, is pushing for a first Test cap after earning selection in the squad.

"How fast that future comes will depend on how he gets stuck into the training over the next couple of weeks where we start to put more of a contact work together and the physicality, which is the key".

"Since season 2016, we've started turning the list around and I feel like we're in the right space with that now".

Brumbies captain Sam Carter was the main omission, but there were recalls for World Cup final starting locks Rob Simmons and Kane Douglas, neither of whom made the June Tests' squad.

Halfback Will Genia and first five-eighths Bernard Foley have been named vice-captains, deputizing for captain Michael Hooper.

The 26-year-old hooker, who is now in South Africa with the Canterbury Crusaders preparing for the Super rugby final against the Golden Lions on Saturday, said he had no desire to take up an overseas contract.

"Because we've got, as you can see, a relatively young squad and still a lot of single-digit cap players".

"I think he's got a very very big future, we want to get him involved as soon as possible".

"We're going to be competing against two of the best locks in the world in the matches coming up against New Zealand and we've got to be up to the challenge, so that was probably the most hard one (choice)". "We just get on with our stuff and prepare as best we can", Cheika said.



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