Former league star among Wallabies’ 35-man squad for England
SYDNEY (AP) — Former National Rugby League star Suliasi Vunivalu is among six uncapped players in a 35-man Wallabies squad named on Sunday for a three-test home series against England.
After overcoming persistent hamstring injuries, winger Vunivalu was included after strong Super Rugby Pacific performances for the Queensland Reds.
Also in the national squad for the first time are New South Wales Waratahs forwards Jed Holloway and Dave Porecki and 33-year-old ACT Brumbies lock Caderyn Neville. Tighthead prop Pone Fa’amausili and Brumbies second rower Nick Frost are the other two uncapped players selected by coach Dave Rennie in a squad again captained Michael Hooper.
Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete and Samu Kerevi are the three overseas selections Rennie was allowed.
Izack Rodda was not included in the squad. Rennie said the 25-test lock had sustained a foot injury which will keep him out of the lineup for up to three months.
“It is worse (than expected),” Rennie said of Rodda, who was among the Wallabies’ best players last year.
The squad is dominated by the Canberra-based Brumbies who reached the Super Rugby Pacific semifinals before losing by one point to the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.
The Brumbies have 15 players, joining seven Reds, six Waratahs, four Melbourne Rebels and the three from Japanese clubs.
“The core of this squad is a group who have performed strongly for us over the last two seasons, while strong form in Super Rugby Pacific has been rewarded with a handful of new faces,” Rennie said in a statement.
The squad will assemble on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane from Thursday as its prepares to meet coach Eddie Jones’ England side beginning July 2 in Perth. The second test is July 9 at Brisbane and the third in Sydney on July 16.
Australia squad:- Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell, Quade Cooper, Pone Fa’amausili, Folau Fainga’a, Nick Frost, Jake Gordon, Michael Hooper (captain), Jed Holloway, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Rob Leota, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Tate McDermott, Cadeyrn Neville, James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Jordan Petaia, Matt Philip, David Porecki, Pete Samu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.
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