Planet Rugby

Wallabies call up Fainga'a

11th August 2014 07:15

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Saia Faingaa

Experienced campaigner: Saia Fainga'a

Australia have been dealt yet another front-row injury blow with the news that Tolu Latu has become their third hooker to be sidelined.

Experienced Reds hooker Saia Fainga'a has been called into the Wallabies squad as a replacement after Latu broke an arm in a Sydney club game on the weekend.

Ewen McKenzie's squad has already been deprived of Australia's two most senior hookers - Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau - ahead of Saturday's opening Rugby Championship game against New Zealand in Sydney.

However, in Fainga'a they have an excellent replacement. Although the 27-year-old will be the third-choice player in his position, he has far more Test caps - 29 - than the combined total of the players ahead of him.

Nathan Charles is expected to start in the first Bledisloe Cup match having earned just two caps off the bench in the June series against France while James Hanson has just one cap to his name dating back to 2012.

Despite their lack of international experience, prop Sekope Kepu is confident Charles and Hanson are up to the task of facing the All Blacks.

"It's not like you're pulling guys that haven't played at Super Rugby level and guys like Hanson and Charles played massive amounts of games this year and credit to them they've played really well," he told AAP.

"It's their chance to step up to the plate.

"I've no doubt they are looking forward to soaking up the occasion and taking the opportunity."

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