Cheika trims Wallabies squad

Date published: August 5 2016

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Veteran scrum-half Will Genia has squeezed Nick Frisby out of Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika's 33-man squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

Genia, currently signed with Stade Français in Paris, has been injured for much of the year but is on track for a Rugby Championship outing and his first taste of rugby since January.

He is one of five Europe-based Wallabies in the trimmed squad, with Quade Cooper, Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Drew Mitchell also included, though Cooper is returning to Australia for good.

Frisby had limited minutes in the June Test series, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika preferring to start Waratahs scrum-half Nick Phipps against England.

Winger Luke Morahan and prop Toby Smith are the others to have missed out on a Rugby Championship shot after being involved in June.

Bolter Tom Robertson has been retained in the squad to head to Terrigal next week, ahead of the Bledisloe Cup opener.

Robertson was a revelation for the Waratahs this season and impressed in the extended national squad in recent weeks, earning a retention for the tournament.

The 21-year-old is one of four uncapped players in the squad, with Rebels duo Reece Hodge and Lopeti Timani and Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa making up the potential debutants.

The Wallabies play their first Bledisloe on August 20 in Sydney and go in as major underdogs, after a disappointing Australian Super Rugby finish.

Most of the squad has been together for two weeks now, with still two left, giving the Wallabies a potentially handy buffer over their South African and Kiwi counterparts, who both have teams in the Super Rugby final.

"We've probably introduced two or three things that we wanted to bring in in this time of year and the boys have had a good opportunity to reconnect," Cheika told the Australian Rugby Union's official website.

"Playing rugby at the highest level, which finals and semifinals of Super Rugby are, it's always an advantage too because they're in the competitive heat.

"If you look at the way we're setting ourselves up now, we're having to do probably other things to replace that game practise around our fitness training but it also gives us an opportunity to get to know our style, reconnect with the style of game we want to play." 

Wallabies Rugby Championship squad:

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Adam Coleman, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, James Hanson, Michael Hooper, Sekope Kepu, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore (c), Dean Mumm, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Will Skelton, James Slipper, Lopeti Timani

Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Quade Cooper, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Matt Giteau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Rob Horne, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Drew Mitchell, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua.

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