Palu, Giteau return for Wallabies

Date published: July 31 2015

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has made four changes to his squad for next weekend's clash with the All Blacks in Sydney.

Matt Giteau, Wycliff Palu, Henry Speight and the uncapped Toby Smith have come in to the 31-man squad announced on Friday.

Giteau returns after a one-match layoff with injury, Palu returns to the squad after being rested for the past month and Speight is available for selection again after serving a five-match suspension.

Their return is timely as the Wallabies prepare for what is effectively a 2015 Rugby Championship 'Final', as the men in gold sit locked at the top of the standings with New Zealand on nine points ahead of the final match of the truncated series.

Melbourne Rebels prop Smith is the other new face in the squad, earning his place after a consistent Super Rugby campaign. The 26-year-old enters the squad as the only uncapped player.

Nick Cummins, Scott Higginbotham, Tetera Faulkner and James Hanson are dropped from the previous squad while Will Genia and Rob Horne miss out through injury.

Cheika believes the selected players will do well against the world champions.

“We have been able to look at a few different combinations during the first two rounds of The Rugby Championship and the squad is starting to take shape," he said.

“In additional to the 31 players, we’ll be bringing some injured and fringe players into camp to continue their rehabilitation and manage their return to play. It’s important that they remain connected and contribute to the group.

“Toby has had a solid season with the Rebels, and has been working really hard while the group has been away.

“Our intention was always to rest Wycliff prior to this camp, and he has come back in great shape and really eager to play.”

The 31-man squad will assemble in Coogee on Sunday evening, as Sydney prepares to host a four-day festival of sport and entertainment from August 5, as part of the annual Bledisloe Cup Festival. 

Australia squad:

Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Quade Cooper (Reds), Scott Fardy (Brumbies), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs), Matt Giteau (Toulon), Greg Holmes (Reds), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), James Horwill (Reds), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), Stephen Moore – Captain (Brumbies), Drew Mitchell (Toulon), Ben McCalman (Force), Sean McMahon (Rebels), Dean Mumm (Waratahs), Wycliff Palu (Waratahs), Nick Phipps (Waratahs), David Pocock (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Rob Simmons (Reds), Will Skelton (Waratahs), James Slipper (Reds), Toby Smith (Rebels), Henry Speight (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Brumbies), Joe Tomane (Brumbies), Nic White (Brumbies).