Cheika calls up veteran Gerrard
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has named the Wallaby XV squad ahead of their tour game against the French Barbarians in Bordeaux on Thursday.
Nineteen players have already assembled in Bordeaux with up to five extra players from the Wallabies squad to fly from Dublin on Tuesday.
Development players make up the majority of the squad although it does feature four overseas-based Wallabies, with Peter Kimlin (Grenoble), Nathan Charles (Clermont), Mark Gerrard (Toyota Industries Shuttles) as well as former captain Ben Mowen (Pau) joining the ranks.
Prop David Lolohea has been rewarded for his strong form in the National Rugby Championship, called up to the Wallaby XV squad despite not having secured a Super Rugby contract for 2017.
The French Barbarians clash will also provide former Rugby League star Marika Koroibete with his first taste of the XV-man game in five years after Cheika confirmed that all players will see game time.
"With the Wallaby XV, we want to create a mix of experienced players as well as our developing players coming through," Cheika said.
"A lot of these lads have been with us over the past three weeks on tour and have been preparing for this Wallaby XV game as their Test match, especially against an international line-up that the French Barbarians will have."
Former Wallabies and Waratahs assistant Scott Wisemantel leads an all-Australian coaching staff for the clash at Stade Chaban-Delmas.
Wisemantel, now an assistant at Montpellier, is joined by Melbourne Rebels backs coach Morgan Turinui and Wallabies Justin Harrison and Chris Whitaker.
"It's a great opportunity for me and I'm excited by the potential of some of these young Australians coming through the ranks," Wisemantel said.
"It's a perfect setting for their development as well as my development as a coach."
"This week is a great opportunity not only for the players but also for the coaches and staff to show they can impress at international level."
Cheika added: "We're looking to invest more into our coaches back home, as well as Australian coaches overseas who are looking to get back into our system."
Former Wallabies captain, Mowen said: "It's really exciting to be involved with an Australian team again and it's an amazing opportunity to re-connect with the Australian rugby culture."
"I have watched from afar and admired the current depth that been developed in Australian rugby and I'm excited to get to play with that talent."
"We all move on for different reasons but that love of Australian rugby never leaves us and this is one of those special times where for a brief moment we get to put on an Aussie jersey and play with that same spirit again."
Wallaby XV squad: Sam Carter, Nathan Charles, Jack Dempsey, Sef Fa'agase, Nick Frisby, Mark Gerrard, Andrew Kellaway, Peter Kimlin, Marika Koroibete, Jono Lance, David Lolohea, Ben Mowen, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Andrew Ready, Izaia Perese, Tom Robertson, Paddy Ryan, Will Skelton, Nic Stirzaker.
Wallaby XV coaching staff:
Scott Wisemantle, Montpellier assistant
Morgan Turinui, Melbourne Rebels assistant
Justin Harrison, former Narbonne head coach
Chris Whitaker, Montauban assistant