Report: European-based Australian trio in line for Wallabies return
The Wallabies could be set to welcome back a trio of European-based stars as Rugby Australia [RA] continue to consider further relaxation of its eligibility rules.
According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, RA are considering bringing La Rochelle lock Will Skelton, Toulouse lock Rory Arnold and Stade Francais hooker Tolu Latu back into the Wallabies set-up.
All three are currently based in France but could feature for the Wallabies for the first time in years as the Australian national side continues to revel following the international comebacks of fellow foreign-based test stars.
For the first time in four years, the Wallabies have won three tests on the trot, with two of those victories coming against the reigning world champion Springboks over the past month.
Much of Australia’s success has revolved around the recall of barnstorming midfielder Samu Kerevi, who hadn’t played for the Wallabies since the 2019 World Cup after relocating to Japan to play for Suntory Singoliath.
Despite having only 33 tests to his name, well short of the 60-cap Giteau Law threshold, Kerevi was called up by Wallabies boss Dave Rennie ahead of their final Bledisloe Cup clash against the All Blacks in Perth earlier this month.
The call-up came after RA relaxed their eligibility rules to allow two foreign-based players who didn’t qualify for the Wallabies under the Giteau Law to be included in Australia’s match day squad.
Since then, the newly-turned 27-year-old has been at the forefront of Australia’s game plan through his robust style of play, which has proven to be a lethal weapon in his side’s attacking arsenal.
Kerevi isn’t the only player to have come back to test rugby amid RA’s eased stance on foreign-based players, as Suntory Sungoliath loose forward Sean McMahon and Toulon midfielder Duncan Paia’aua are also both part of the Wallabies squad.
Kintetsu Liners first-five Quade Cooper has also become a key figure in Australia’s starting team since being brought into the team ahead of the Rugby Championship, although he qualifies under the Giteau Law restrictions.
Given Kerevi’s influence on the Wallabies and their recent victories, the Herald states that Skelton, Arnold and Latu could be called into national squad for their end-of-year tour of Japan and Europe.
It is thought the trio will help bolster Australia’s depth in the second row and at hooker, two positions of which the Wallabies are understrength in comparison to other positional groups.
Furthermore, it is believed their inclusion in the Wallabies, a concept being considered by RA board members Phil Waugh and Dan Herbert, as well as chief executive Andy Marinos, will help Rennie assess their impact leading into the 2023 World Cup.
“If it’s a tweak (to the current eligibility laws), I’m open to a recommendation from the Rugby Committee, comprising of Dan Herbert, Phil Waugh and Andy,” RA chairman Hamish McLennan said, as per the Herald.
“I’m open to it, if Dave wants to look at it, given Covid has seen our Aussie players on the road since June.”
Latu and Arnold last featured at test level at the 2019 World Cup, while Skelton played the last of his 18 tests for the Wallabies in 2016 after he moved to Saracens the following year.
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