Former All Blacks scrumhalf back in contention for Wallabies call-up – report

Jared Wright
Former All Blacks scrumhalf and potential wallabies Tawera Kerr Barlow of La Rochelle in action during the European Champions Cup match between La Rochelle and Toulouse at Twickenham Stadium

Tawera Kerr Barlow of La Rochelle in action during the European Champions Cup match between La Rochelle and Toulouse at Twickenham Stadium.

Former All Blacks scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow is back in the selection frame for the Wallabies, according to reports.

The Australian-born number nine has been a standout for La Rochelle in recent seasons, helping them win back-to-back Champions Cup titles.

Kerr-Barlow played 27 Tests for the All Blacks between 2012 and 2017, winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup with the side.

Having not played for New Zealand since the 2017 British and Irish Lions Series, he is eligible to switch Test allegiances to his country of birth.

Back in the selection frame

According to a report by The Roar, the 32-year-old could play for Australia A against Portugal the day before the Wallabies’ final Rugby World Cup warm-up match against France on August 27.

He has yet to feature in either the Wallabies or Australia A squads, but that might still change.

The report adds that he remains in “consideration for a remarkable call-up by Eddie Jones” and has spoken to Rugby Australia officials about being a potential option for the World Cup.

Last year, Kerr-Barlow revealed his desire to represent Australia and was available to play under former head coach Dave Rennie – whom he won two Super Rugby titles with at the Chiefs – if his services were required.

It is now understood that his feelings haven’t changed despite the change in head coach with Jones taking charge.

“I haven’t had any contact with them,” Kerr-Barlow told SENZ in May.

“My camp has reached out to them, and I don’t think there was much interest … it got blown massively out of proportion, but I put my hand up to be available since the rule changed, and I’ve always said I’ve always been proud to have come from Darwin.”

 

The Roar’s report adds that there may have been a change of heart at Rugby Australia, particularly considering Kerr-Barlow’s form of late.

That paired with Jake Gordon’s unavailability after signing a short-term contract with Top 14 side Toulon as Rugby World Cup cover.

Nic White, Ryan Lonergan and Tate McDermott are currently in the Wallabies’ squad ahead of the Bledisloe Cup Tests against the All Blacks.

One injury in the position could lead to a call-up for the ex-All Black, particularly considering he is in France already and would add plenty of experience to the squad.

Not the first player to switch

Kerr-Barlow would not be the first player to switch their Test allegiance ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Former Austrlia flyhalf Christian Leali’ifano made his debut for Samoa in the win over Japan this weekend, with ex-Wallaby full-back Israel Folau now turning out for Tonga.

Folau was rested for Tonga’s Pacific Nations Cup defeat to Fiji, but the ‘Ikale Tahi side had former All Blacks Vaea Fifita (back-row),  Malakai Fekitoa (centre) and Charles Piutau (utility back) in their starting line-up.

Another notable Wallaby who changed nations is Jack Dempsey, who now plies his trade for Scotland and is expected to represent them at the Rugby World Cup later this year.

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