Rennie explains why McReight, Rodda and Hodge were left out of Wallabies squad
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie admits he’ll need to re-think his overseas picks following the three Tests against England after revealing lock Izack Rodda faces up to three months on the sideline with a foot injury.
Rodda, a Test regular, had previously been confident he could feature in next month’s Tests against Eddie Jones’ touring side but the Western Force star is now likely to miss those and also the ensuing Rugby Championship.
Rennie named a 35-man squad on Sunday for the England series, with Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete and Samu Kerevi the three overseas selections Rennie is allowed under the Giteau Law.
“It is worse (than expected); he could be out for as much as three months,” Rennie said of Rodda, who was among the Wallabies’ best last year.
“The issue (with selecting the France-based players to face England) is that they played quarter-finals overnight (and getting) clarity on when they’re available.
“It’s easier to leave those guys out of the England series and maybe have a look at it again post that.”
“We’ve picked him because of his massive potential and we think he can accelerate development inside the camp,” Rennie said.
“He’s had his troubles with injury – we’ve seen glimpses of real quality – we are just keen to get our hands on him.”
Rennie said versatile back Reece Hodge’s mixed form and “scratchy start to the season” counted against him while Matt To’omua’s international career appears over after he too was overlooked for the squad.
In-form Reds’ No.7 Fraser McReight was another notable omission, Rennie not keen to carry another specialist on the bench behind captain Michael Hooper and preferring to free McReight to feature for Australia A in the three-game Pacific Nations Cup campaign.
His Reds teammate Taniela Tupou is hopeful of overcoming his knee injury to play, while Kurtley Beale is due back in Australia following his French rugby stint but wasn’t considered after hamstring and calf issues.
The group will assemble on the Sunshine Coast from Thursday, with the opener at Optus Stadium in Perth on July 2 before the 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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