Dave Rennie named 40-man training squad for England Series, Super Rugby, Ben Donaldson, Suliasi Vunivalu, Six Nations results
Dave Rennie always said he would choose fit players and, true to his word, he did.
Of course, picking 40 players, none of whom play overseas, for a practice squad means he’s cast the net wide, but there are a number of interesting selections.
Ben Donaldson, the Waratahs’ emerging flyhalf, was selected alongside James O’Connor and Noah Lolesio despite a calf injury.
Donaldson will miss the next two weeks but will travel to the Gold Coast for the three-day Gold Coast Camp.
Reds outside full-back Jock Campbell was rewarded for years of consistency at the back and was also brought in.
But his hopes of playing for the Wallabies could be doomed by Jordan Petaia’s strong start at back, which saw Campbell move to the wing.
“I definitely believe his (Campbell’s) best position is 15 and I know Jordie really wants to play 15 and he’s starting to make a real fist of that as well,” Rennie told reporters on Sunday.
“It’s good, it’s a competition for places and I hope it brings out the best of both.”
Western Force winger Toni Pulu – a Rennie favorite over the years, having played under him at the Chiefs before crossing the gap – was also called up.
Only injury prevented the former Brumbies speedster from making his debut and the winger remains an elusive away presence.
Brumbies locks Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain and, interestingly, Nick Frost have been selected.
Frost recently signed to join Robbie Deans’ Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan, but by capping the 22-year-old his future could be swayed.
Japan’s Premier League only allows two players capped on field testing at a time and if Frost plays against England it will make life harder for the Deans to play the prodigious talent whose developing body makes of him a world class player for the future.
“We would like him to be here,” Rennie said.
Elsewhere, in a sign of rising stocks at the Waratahs, their entire front line has been selected along with returning striker Jed Holloway.
Rebels utility Reece Hodge was selected despite his shocking start to the year, but Matt To’omua didn’t enjoy the same fortunes with veteran Test playmaker left out.
“There’s no doubt some guys can still stand out in these situations,” Rennie said.
“Some of them are based on the shape
“He’s played quite a 10 and we see him more as a 12 and we have a lot of good midfielders who we think are doing pretty well too.
“His job over the next 10 weeks is to put some pressure on us through performance.”
Four prostitutes have been selected, but Folau Fainga’a and Dave Porecki would likely be the two selected should the Wallabies play next weekend.
Rennie also opted for four halfbacks, with Ryan Lonergan the only uncapped rake among them.
While Brumbies hooker Billy Pollard and Force half-back Issak Fines-Leleiwasa were glossed over, the two men caught the attention of Wallabies coaches and offer a real point of difference.
Injured returning rowers Lachie Swinton and Rob Leota were selected.
But Reds star Suliasi Vunivalu didn’t, with the flying winger still back after another hamstring injury.
But good news, Rennie has confirmed the 26-year-old is set to return and join camp for a day, and he hopes the out-of-contract star will stay in the game despite growing speculation that he is was preparing to return. the NRL.
“Suli is not far away, maybe a few weeks,” Rennie said.
“We haven’t named him in the squad, but the plan is to bring him in for a day with the camp in Queensland just to assess things.
“But he feels really good, he runs fast, he needs a bit of rugby before he plays.
“I hope he stays.. we are definitely keen to keep him in our game.”
The Wallabies will meet on the Gold Coast for a three-day training camp on April 3 ahead of July’s three-Test series against England.
Eddie Jones’ England went down to France 25-13 in Paris at the weekend to cap a remarkable Six Nations final day, after Italy shocked Wales to end a seven-year drought .
It was England’s third defeat of the campaign, but Jones’ side finished third in the Six Nations.
Australian Jones is under heavy pressure to keep his job after winning just two games for the second consecutive campaign.
France sealed the grand slam with the 12-point victory and in doing so carried their momentum through to next year’s World Cup where they are now favorites to win their first Webb Ellis Cup.
“It was the match you expected,” Rennie said. “There were a lot of kicks.
“England are very big in territory, dominance from set pieces and set pieces, then try to turn the screws.
“It’s a team that defends very well, they have a very good sprint.
“I think they (France) were still on the odds, England were quite keen to spoil the party.
“What we know is that it’s a really tough competition, maybe a lot tougher than people appreciate, and the quality of the French, the quality of the Irish, they’re great teams; England is there too.
Wallabies camp squad (age, squad, tests played)
Allan Alaalatoa (28, Brumbies, 53 tries)
Tom Banks (27, Brumbies, 19 tests)
Angus Bell (21, NSW Waratahs, 16 Tests)
Jock Campbell (26, Queensland Reds, uncapped)
Ben Donaldson (22, NSW Waratahs, uncapped)
Folau Fainga’a (26, Brumbies, 25 tries)
Lalakai Foketi (27, NSW Waratahs, 1 test)
Nick Frost (22, Brumbies, uncapped)
Jake Gordon (28, NSW Waratahs, 10 tests)
Reece Hodge (27, Melbourne Rebels, 54 Tests)
Michael Hooper (30, NSW Waratahs, 118 tests)
Jed Holloway (29, NSW Waratahs, uncapped)
Len Ikitau (23, Brumbies, 13 tries)
Harry Johnson-Holmes (25, NSW Waratahs, 1 try)
Feleti Kaitu’u (27, Western Force, 3 tests)
Andrew Kellaway (26, Melbourne Rebels, 13 Tests)
Rob Leota (25, Melbourne Rebels, 6 Tests)
Noah Lolesio (22, Brumbies, 9 tries)
Lachlan Lonergan (22, Brumbies, 4 tries)
Ryan Lonergan (23, Brumbies, uncapped)
Tate McDermott (23, Queensland Reds, 15 Tests)
Fraser McReight (23, Queensland Reds, 2 Tests)
Cadeyrn Neville (33, Brumbies, uncapped)
James O’Connor (31, Queensland Reds, 61 Tests)
Hunter Paisami (23, Queensland Reds, 15 Tests)
Izaia Perese (24, NSW Waratahs, 2 tests)
Jordan Petaia (22, Queensland Reds, 16 Tests)
Matt Philip (28, Melbourne Rebels, 20 Tests)
David Porecki (29, NSW Waratahs, uncapped)
Toni Pulu (33, Western Force, uncapped)
Izack Rodda (25, Western Force, 34 tries)
Pete Samu (30, Brumbies, 19 tries)
James Slipper (32, Brumbies, 114 tries)
Darcy Swain (24, Brumbies, 10 tests)
Lachlan Swinton (25, NSW Waratahs, 7 tests)
Taniela Tupou (25, Queensland Reds, 38 tests)
Rob Valetini (23, Brumbies, 18 tries)
Nic White (31, Brumbies, 47 tries)
Harry Wilson (22, Queensland Reds, 10 Tests)
Tom Wright (24, Brumbies, 10 tests)