James O’Connor could return for the Wallabies on Saturday as coach Michael Cheika assesses his options just four games out from September’s World Cup.


The utility back last played for Australia in 2013 but, refocused after his long European stint, he is again in the picture after signing with the Queensland Reds for next season.

The 29-year-old didn’t feature in last Saturday’s Rugby Championship loss to South Africa but could be introduced among a number of changes against Argentina in Brisbane.

Cheika will name his side on Thursday morning, with O’Connor, lock Adam Coleman, winger Marika Koroibete, prop Scott Sio and five-eighth Christian Leali’ifano all re-joining the squad and chances to feature.

Experienced hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is also back in the fray after Cheika persuaded the veteran to have one last crack ahead of Japan’s World Cup.

Hooker Jordan Uelese and prop James Slipper both suffered head knocks in the Ellis Park loss but are hopeful of backing up at Suncorp Stadium, where Australia have won their last five Tests.

Following Saturday’s clash, only two Tests against New Zealand and a pre-departure clash with Samoa remain before the side opens their campaign in Sapporo against Fiji on September 21.


Tom Banks started ahead of Kurtley Beale at fullback on Saturday, while Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani combined in the midfield.

O’Connor could be introduced in any of those positions, or as a utility from the bench, as Cheika attempts to nail down his best unit for the code’s showpiece in Japan.

Argentinian flyer Santiago Cordero is among the possible additions for the visitors, after being overlooked in the side’s tight loss to New Zealand in Buenos Aires last week.

The winger, a standout with Exeter before recently joining French club Bordeaux-Begles, was unused as one of just four overseas players in the Pumas’ squad last weekend.


“I can’t complain, I’m happy to be here but would love to play some minutes and show what I can do,” he said.

“The game’s going to be very physical; they have big guys, we have big guys.

“It’s going to be very tough, everyone wanting to show who’s stronger, who’s better and we both need to win.”


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