He may have been welcomed to the Waratahs with open arms, but controversial Australian star Karmichael Hunt hasn’t been greeted as warmly by Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika.
The six-test midfielder, who made his name in rugby league before switching to AFL and then rugby union in 2015, is the biggest name to have missed the cut for Cheika’s 40-man group that will assemble in Sydney on Saturday in preparation for the World Cup.
His omission from the group comes after his pre-season switch from the Reds to the Waratahs following a fall-out with Queensland head coach Brad Thorn, which saw him fail to take to the field in Super Rugby at all last year as result of a run-in with the law regarding drug-related issues.
While Cheika is thought to value Hunt highly, it is understood that he is keen for the 32-year-old to continue to ply his trade for the Waratahs and earn his stripes at Super Rugby level before being welcomed back into the national set-up.
It will be the second time Cheika has run a Wallabies camp this year, after running a controversial training camp in January which saw four of his player return to their clubs with injuries.
However, no training will be involved this time round, with the congregation of players set to be used as an opportunity to monitor and screen players, and will allow them to continue their recovery from the opening rounds of Super Rugby.
All coaches, barring a replacement for recently-dismissed attack coach Stephen Larkham and yet-to-arrive director of rugby Scott Johnson, will be in attendance and will conduct one-on-one meetings with the players.
The camp will be the first time players have come together since the kick-off of Super Rugby last month, with players from the Rebels and Brumbies to arrive at Rugby Australia headquarters on Saturday morning, while members of the Waratahs and Reds will join the group following their clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground later in the day.
Other notable names to have missed the cut include Anaru Rangi of the Rebels and Lachlan McCaffrey of the Brumbies, while recently-discarded stars Quade Cooper and James Slipper have been included in the camp.
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