Karmichael back to hunt with Wallabies

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 06:32

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallaby coach Michael Cheika has added a couple of Reds players to his squad for the final Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Brisbane next Saturday.

Karmichael Hunt re-joins the squad for the first time since the June series, after proving his fitness in the National Rugby Championship last weekend for Brisbane City.

The Reds utility starred in his first three Tests for the Wallabies, before an ankle injury ruined his chances of playing in the Rugby Championship.

Fellow Queenslander Adam Korczyk has also forced his way into the squad following a series of strong performances in the NRC - while Rory Arnold, Lopeti Timani and Izaia Perese have also re-joined the squad.

Cheika has also selected rookie trio Folau Fainga'a, Jermaine Ainsley and Duncan Paia'aua as a Development Group, ahead of the Wallabies clash with the Barbarians and upcoming tour of Japan and the United Kingdom.

"We'll see how Hunt goes at training, how he plays this weekend in NRC and then how he goes in training," Cheika said.

"In the last camp in June, he pretty much forced his way into the team. He's probably got a bit more competition now as we've built the squad over the Rugby Championship.

"Obviously we'll be looking to the next game as well for some of those guys and I think Jermaine Ainsley is a player we've had our eye on for a while. He had an injury now he's back playing, and will get a second game of NRC this weekend.

"With Stephen retiring at the end of the year, we're looking at a couple of younger hookers. We've seen a few guys around that we like. I think Folau Fainga'a is a guy we'd like to come and have a closer look at from what he's done in NRC. He's gone down to the Vikings and done quite well.

"They've [New Zealand] had an outstanding championship. They're going to be coming here to try and repeat the first half of game one and we're going to have to play so much better than we've been playing to get up there and challenge them," Cheika added.

The Wallabies will convene in Queensland on Sunday for a training camp on the Gold Coast.

Australia last played New Zealand in Brisbane in 2014, when they suffered a heart-breaking defeat after a try with the last play of the game.

The Wallabies failed in their quest to win the Bledisloe Cup in 2017, after two defeats in Sydney and Dunedin respectively in August.

Australia squad:

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Tetera Faulkner, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Adam Korczyk, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Lopeti Timani, Lukhan Tui, Jordan Uelese,.

Backs: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Reece Hodge, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Billy Meakes, Izaia Perese, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Henry Speight.

Development group: Folau Fainga'a, Jermaine Ainsley, Duncan Paia'aua.