Wallaby squad for Bledisloe 3 named by Cheika

Wallaby squad for Bledisloe 3 named by Cheika
Michael Cheika has unveiled his squad for Bledisloe 3. Photo: David Molloy Photography, Wikimedia Commons

Michael Cheika has named a large Wallabies squad to fly to Japan for Bledisloe game 3. While many players will not be picked for the match, the squad for the European tour is likely to be similar. A number of players have been brought into the squad in a signal that Cheika is looking to build depth in key positions.

Injured prop Tom Robertson has been left out from the squad that toured South Africa and Argentina, as have Leicester players Matt Toomua and Tatafu Polota-Nau (the test is outside the international window meaning Leicester is not obliged to release them from club duty). Caleb Timu is the only fit and available player from the last squad to be left out, although Pete Samu, who was a Wallabies regular before being ruled out of the last tour through injury, has also been left in Australia.

Melbourne prop Jermaine Ainsley, Queensland centre Samu Kerevi and Waratahs backrowers Jack Dempsey and Jed Holloway have all been added to the squad. Kerevi and Dempsey have been injured, while Ainsley and Holloway have forced their way in through the NRC.

There are 3 potential debutants in the squad in Holloway, Angus Cottrell and Jake Gordon. This trio are unlikely to get a run against the All Blacks, but the November tour would be an ideal time to give them some experience leading into next year’s World Cup.

There will be some interesting selection dilemmas for the Wallabies, particularly with Dempsey and Kerevi back as both were starters when they were last fit. Kerevi will be battling with Reece Hodge for the outside centre spot, while Dempsey is a strong option for the number 6 role alongside David Pocock and Michael Hooper in the back row.

The Wallabies will be desperate to prove that the second half in Salta was a turning point for them, and restore some faith for their supporters. They have had two disappointing losses against the All Blacks in the first two games of the Bledisloe series, and need to prove that they can turn things around.

A disappointing Spring Tour will also further increase the pressure on Cheika and his coaching staff, who appear all but certain to retain their roles until the end of the year at least.