Michael Cheika names six uncapped players in squad for Bledisloe Cup opener

Michael Cheika has confirmed the Australian squad for Rugby Championship opener
Michael Cheika has confirmed the Australian squad for Rugby Championship opener

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has named a 36-man squad for the Bledisloe Cup opening clash against New Zealand to be played in Sydney on 18th August.

The squad contains six uncapped players including Jordan Petaia, who impressed during the trial game on Friday at Leichhardt Oval. Brumbies duo Folau Faingaa and Tom Banks and Melbourne Rebels trio Jermaine Ainsley, Jack Maddocks and Billy Meakes will also be hoping to make their international debut.

England-based hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and play-maker Matt Toomua, who recently signed a deal with Rebels and Rugby Australia are also selected in the extended squad under Australia's 'Giteau law' which allows Cheika to select players plying their trade overseas.

Polota-Nau, who is currently playing for Leicester Tigers has played in 82 Tests so far - which is 22 more than the minimum tally required for players from overseas to be considered for national selection while Toomua is set to return to Australian province for the 2019 Super Rugby season.

Australia skipper Michael Hooper will continue his recovery from a hamstring injury that he sustained during the series against England.

The squad will undergo a training camp in Cessnock this week.

Australia squad:

Forwards - Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Folau Faingaa, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Taniela Tupou.

Backs - Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Billy Meakes, Sefa Naivalu, Jordan Petaia, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Matt Toomua.


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