Rugby Championship: Rory Arnold back in Wallabies squad for tour to Argentina

David Skippers

Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has announced his 36-man squad to take on Argentina in the opening two rounds of this year’s Rugby Championship.

Experienced lock Rory Arnold is back in the squad after last featuring in the 2021 end-of-year tour to Europe while star centre Samu Kerevi is a notable absentee as he was selected to represent Australia Sevens at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this month.

Australia A form rewarded

Reds duo Jock Campbell and Fraser McReight have also been called up to the Wallabies squad after impressive performances for Australia A during the recent Pacific Nations Cup.

Campbell is yet to play at Test level and is joined by Waratahs forward Jed Holloway and Rebels props Matt Gibbon and Pone Fa’amausili as the four uncapped players in the squad.

Gibbon has earned his call-up after injuries to Angus Bell (toe) and Harry Johnson-Holmes (Achilles) kept them on the sidelines while Fa’amausili and Holloway were part of Australia’s squad during the recent England series but struggled with niggling injuries.

Meanwhile, Kerevi’s absence and Izaia Perese’s injury sees the return of centres Irae Simone and Lalakai Foketi. Simone, who last played for Australia in 2020, shone for the Brumbies in Super Rugby Pacific while Foketi made his debut for the Wallabies at the end of last year.

“We were massively disappointed on the weekend but we’re only three matches into a 14-Test season so we need to take the lessons on board quickly and learn from them,” Rennie said in a statement.

“To be able to pick guys who have performed well in the Australia A program against quality International opposition is a massive positive and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to the mob next week.

“We’re well aware of how tough the challenge is of playing Argentina two weeks in a row on their home soil and they’ll be full of confidence after their series win over Scotland.”

The Wallabies will assemble on Australia’s Gold Coast on Tuesday before flying out to Argentina on Friday.

They start their Rugby Championship campaign with Tests in Mendoza and San Juan against Los Pumas on August 6 and 13 respectively.

Wallabies squad to tour Argentina

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Pone Fa’amausili, Folau Fainga’a, Nick Frost, Matt Gibbon, Michael Hooper (c), Jed Holloway, Rob Leota, Lachlan Lonergan, Fraser McReight, Matt Philip, David Porecki, Pete Samu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Harry Wilson

Backs: Jock Campbell, Quade Cooper, Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Len Ikitau, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Irae Simone, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White, Tom Wright

READ MOREEddie Jones: England boss linked with return to Australia after next year’s World Cup – report