Former force players return to Perth apart of Wallabies squad extension

· The Rugby Championship
by Rugby WA Media

The Wallabies have extended their squad to 36 players ahead of their highly anticipated Bledisloe Cup clash at Optus Stadium next week, with the inclusions of Queensland Reds youngster Jordan Petaia, and former Western Force players David Pocock and Tatafu Polota-Nau.

All three players are returning from lengthy injuries, with Petaia recovering from a serious Lisfranc injury he suffered in round 2 of Super Rugby against the Highlanders earlier in the season, whilst Pocock will return from a calf injury he sustained in a Wallabies camp at the beginning of the year, and Polota-Nau returns from a knee injury.

Petaia is a valuable inclusion into the squad with the 19-year-old making a name for himself in the Buildcorp NRC for Queensland Country as well as for the Queensland Reds in 2018.

The return of David Pocock will no doubt be a welcome inclusion for the Wallabies who have missed his dominant presence at the breakdown in the opening stages of the Rugby Championship.

Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “We know it’s going to be a packed house in Perth, full of Wallabies fans cheering us on and seeing what we’re building towards. We want to make every Australian proud of our performance next Saturday.

"Squad decisions are getting harder and harder to make. So many lads are putting their hands up at training and at Club Rugby around the country, and each one of them is pushing the other to get better each day.

“It’s great to see Jordan (Petaia) back. He’s had a few games of Club Rugby under his belt now so we’ll look to integrate him this week in Perth and give him time to settle in.

“We were pleased to get the win against Argentina and we felt we built on some things from the previous game against South Africa and now we’ll be looking to build on that.

“There’s strong belief in the group and it’s showing itself in how hard they’re training and how committed they are to doing whatever they need to do to achieve our goals,” Cheika said.

The 36-man squad will arrive in Perth on Sunday ahead of the first-ever Test match at Optus Stadium with the Rugby Championship crown still up for grabs.

Perth has never hosted a clash between Australia and New Zealand in the trophy’s 116-year history with the Wallabies out to break a 16-year drought in 2019, having not lifted the huge piece of silverware since 2002.

The Wallabies last test victory against the All Blacks came in Bledisloe III at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane in 2017 when they prevailed 23-18.

With today marking 50 days until the Wallabies first World Cup match against Fiji on September 21, next Week’s epic Bledisloe clash at Optus Stadium will serve as an important building block to the Wallabies World Cup campaign.

The Wallabies will be heading down to UWA Sports Park at McGillivray Oval for the Wallabies Fan Day this Sunday at 2:30pm.

The Wallabies take on New Zealand at Optus Stadium, Perth on August 10, kicking off at 5:45pm local, LIVE on Network Ten, FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. The Wallaroos take on the Black Ferns in the first match of a double header at the stadium, kicking off at 3pm local, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

SQUAD


Forwards

Allan Alaalatoa (32 Tests, Brumbies, 25)

Rory Arnold (21 Tests , Brumbies, 29)

Adam Coleman (31, Melbourne Rebels, 28)

Folau Fainga’a (9 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Michael Hooper (c) (93 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 27)

Luke Jones (4 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)

Sekope Kepu (105 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 33)

Tolu Latu (12 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

Isi Naisarani (2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)

David Pocock (77 Tests, Brumbies, 31)

Tatafu Polota-Nau (89 Tests, Leicester, 34)

Izack Rodda (19 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Rob Simmons (96 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (13, Queensland Reds, 23)

Scott Sio (56 Tests, Brumbies, 27)

James Slipper (88 Tests, Brumbies, 30)

Taniela Tupou (13 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)

Jordan Uelese (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 22)

Rob Valetini (uncapped, Brumbies, 20)

Liam Wright (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 21)

Backs

Adam Ashley-Cooper (117 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 35)

Tom Banks (4 Tests, Brumbies, 25)

Kurtley Beale (85 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)

Bernard Foley (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Will Genia (102 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 31)

Dane Haylett-Petty (32 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)

Reece Hodge (35 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)

Samu Kerevi (27 Tests, Queensland Reds, 25)

Marika Koroibete (21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 27)

Tevita Kuridrani (60 Tests, Brumbies, 28)

Christian Lealiifano (20 Tests, Brumbies, 31)

James O’Connor (45 Tests, Queensland Reds, 29)

Jordan Petaia (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 19)

Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 25)

Matt To'omua (44 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)

Nic White (22 Tests, Exeter Chiefs, 29)

 

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