Australia have announced a 28-man squad for the next stage of their Rugby Championship campaign in South Africa and Argentina.
Australia have announced a 28-man touring squad for the next stage of their Rugby Championship campaign in South Africa and Argentina.
The Wallabies will assemble in Sydney on Friday before flying to South Africa on Monday ahead of matches against the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday 27 September and the Pumas in Mendoza on Saturday 4 October.
Vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper has recovered from a nerve compression injury and will return to the squad after missing Australia's victory over Argentina on the Gold Coast at the weekend.
He will be joined by three further additions in scrum-half Will Genia, prop Benn Robinson and hooker Saia Fainga'a. All three return as official members of the 28-man squad, after being used as additional training squad players in the lead-up to the Gold Coast Test.
The squad will also see the fairytale story of 33-year-old ACT Brumbies hooker Josh Mann-Rea continue, as he gets another chance to earn his first Test cap with three specialist hookers selected for the two-game tour.
“It's pleasing to be able to bring in some experienced guys for what will be an extremely challenging tour of South Africa and Argentina,” said Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.
“We took a conservative approach with Adam's injury in our most recent Test against Argentina, and we're confident the additional week off will serve him well going into the next stage of our campaign.
“Collectively, we add almost 250 games of Test experience to our squad through the inclusion of Adam, Will, Benn and Saia. They've all had good exposure to our program this year, so we expect them to be able to contribute immediately when we get into camp.”
McKenzie said the squad was looking forward to the challenges on tour.
“While pleased to have finished ahead on the scoreboard over the past two weeks, we understand there is still a lot of improvement left in this group and we'll be working hard to ensure we see that over the next fortnight,” he added.
“The Springboks and Argentina always lift to another level when they are playing at home and so we are under no illusions as to the challenges which are ahead.
“We'll look forward to that, and to the opportunity to continue evolving and improving our game over the next period.”
Players who have not been considered for selection due to injury include, but is not limited to, hookers Stephen Moore (knee), Tatafu Polota-Nau (ankle), Nathan Charles (pectoral), Tolu Latu (arm) and Heath Tessman (ankle); prop Scott Sio (ankle); backrowers Wycliff Palu (head), David Pocock (knee) and Dave Dennis (knee); flyhalf Quade Cooper (shoulder); and outside backs Henry Speight (hamstring); Peter Betham (ankle); and Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder).
Forwards: Ben Alexander, Pek Cowan, Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, James Slipper, Saia Fainga'a, James Hanson, Josh Mann-Rea, Sam Carter, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Scott Fardy, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Michael Hooper (capt), Ben McCalman.
Backs: Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Nic White, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali'ifano, Matt Toomua, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Israel Folau, Rob Horne, Joe Tomane.