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Former NRL flyer named in Wallabies squad along with four uncapped forwards

By AAP
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

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Former NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu is one of four newcomers included in a 35-man Wallabies squad ahead of next month’s home three-Test series against England.

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After overcoming persistent hamstring injuries, highly-regarded winger Vunivalu forced his way in with strong Super Rugby Pacific performances for the Queensland Reds.

Also in the national squad for the first time are NSW Waratahs forwards Jed Holloway and Dave Porecki and 33-year-old Brumbies lock Caderyn Neville.

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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 is allowed.

There was no place for veteran five eighth Matt To’omua and his long international career appears over with Cooper joining James O’Connor and Noah Lolesio as the chosen playmakers.

Queensland Reds flanker Fraser McReight appears unlucky to miss out while much-capped utility back Reece Hodge is also missing from the squad.

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The squad is dominated by the Brumbies who reached the Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals before losing by one point to the Blues in Auckland on Saturday night.

They have 15 players included, joining seven Queensland 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,” said Rennie in a statement.

“The past two years have allowed us to build strong foundations as a group but there’s no doubt that we have a lot more in us.

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“We’re looking forward to working hard and preparing as a group to put in performances that make our supporters proud against England next month.”

The group will assemble on the Sunshine Coast from Thursday as they prepare to meet Eddie Jones’ England, with the opener at Optus Stadium in Perth on July 2 before gthe second Test at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on July 9 and a potential decider at the Sydney Cricket Ground on July 16.

Wallabies squad:- Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell, Quade Cooper, Pone Fa’amausili, Folau Fainga’a, Nick Frost, Jake Gordon, Michael Hooper (c), 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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