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Poloto-Nau back in Wallabies fold

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Sportal.co.nz     12 Oct 2013     Getty Images

The injury-plagued Waratahs rake has been sorely missed by the Wallabies this year but has been cleared of a hamstring problem to add to his 44 Test caps.

He is one of three hookers in Ewen McKenzie's squad named on Friday alongside Stephen Moore and Saia Fainga'a.

The Australian Rugby Union will also draw from the squad for Saturday week's third Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

The squad consists of 26 of the 28 players which recently toured South Africa and Argentina as part of the Rugby Championship, with front-rower Albert Anae and winger Peter Betham the unlucky omissions following the return of Polota-Nau and Western Force outside back Nick Cummins.

Backrower Scott Fardy will also miss the upcoming Test against the All Blacks with an eye injury he sustained in Australia's 54-17 victory against Argentina before returning to action at the beginning of the Spring Tour.

Also added to the group are three position specialists in tighthead prop Paddy Ryan, openside flanker Liam Gill and scrumhalf Nick Phipps, along with goal-kicking ace Mike Harris.

McKenzie said he expected the experience of Polota-Nau, a veteran of 44 Tests, to benefit the squad throughout the Spring Tour.

"Tatafu hasn't had much of an opportunity due to injury over the past six months but we're picking him on reputation. He is also an experienced scrummager, which will be valuable in the UK," he said.

"We'll have a good look at him next week and see where he is up to, but he was enthusiastic when I spoke with him. He'll need all of his experience to push his way back into contention although having a guy with his background will strengthen the group."

All 32 players will assemble in Sydney on Sunday before a narrowed down playing group of 24 is selected to travel to New Zealand next Wednesday ahead of the Wallabies' third Test of 2013 against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

The squad will then re-assemble in Sydney the following week before flying to the UK on October 25 for their Grand Slam Tour and matches against England, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

"The decision to choose 32 players now just made sense. We've only got a week's lead-in once we fly to England on the other side of the world, so anything we can do now to expedite the training process is important," McKenzie said.