Wallabies confident of travelling to New Zealand

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With changes to the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship series being worked on, as a result of the closing of the Tasman travel bubble, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said Australia would not play all three Tests of the Bledisloe series in New Zealand.

 

It had been intended to play the Cup series in Auckland on August 7, in Perth on August 21 and then in Wellington on August 28.

 

It was now likely the games would be played over three consecutive weekends - the first two in New Zealand and the third in Perth, he said.

 

Rennie said, "Our mindset is to win a Bledisloe, you have to win at least one in New Zealand to give us a chance in Perth so nothing changes really."

 

He was confident the Wallabies would meet the requirement to travel to New Zealand from their Gold Coast base on Friday, the day the travel bubble is paused.

 

"We have been constantly Covid tested twice a week for the last few weeks, and we'll test again today [Sunday], we'll test again on Wednesday and [the] likelihood is [we] will travel Friday," he said.

 

Returning to the squad from injuries are halfback Nic White, prop Scott Sio and midfielder Jordan Petaia. Also joining them will be former first five-eighths Quade Cooper, although he was considered unlikely to play.

He was called in as cover after Rennie said it was unlikely James O'Connor would recover from a groin injury to play in any of the Bledisloe Cup Tests.

 

"He tweaked his groin on the Tuesday when we were down in Melbourne [for their second Test with France]. That's going to see him sideline, and …it's likely he will miss all three," Rennie said.

 

There was better news for Petaia. He was set to play club rugby at the weekend but was pulled from that due to potential Covid concerns. However, Rennie said he had been training with the squad during the French series.

 

"Even the way he trained, all us old people were tempted to throw him in. We got excited watching him train, but we want to make sure we've done everything to make sure when he returns, he's ready to go," he said.

 

"The connection this group is forming is growing every day, and we've picked a squad of players here who are willing to work hard for each other," Rennie said.

 

"We know we've still got a way to go to get to where we want to be, but that challenge is exciting and something we're looking forward to.

 

"We have a great opportunity coming up in the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Tests to build on the momentum we picked up during a tough French series," he said.

WALLABIES SQUAD FOR THE BLEDISLOE CUP AND THE RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Allan Alaalatoa (46, Brumbies, 27)

 

Tom Banks (14, Brumbies, 27)

 

Angus Bell (6, NSW Waratahs, 20)

 

Pone Fa’amausili* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 24)

 

Lalakai Foketi* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 26)

 

Nick Frost* (uncapped, Brumbies, 21)

 

Jake Gordon (8, NSW Waratahs, 28)

 

Reece Hodge (46, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

 

Michael Hooper (c) (108, NSW Waratahs, 29)

 

Len Ikitau (2, Brumbies, 22)

 

Feleti Kaitu’u* (uncapped, Western Force, 26)

 

Andrew Kellaway (2, Melbourne Rebels, 25)

 

Marika Koroibete (37, Melbourne Rebels, 28)

 

Rob Leota* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 24)

 

Noah Lolesio (5, Brumbies, 21)

 

Lachlan Lonergan (2, Brumbies, 21)

 

Ryan Lonergan* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)

 

Tate McDermott (5, Queensland Reds, 22)

 

Fraser McReight (1, Queensland Reds, 22)

 

Andy Muirhead* (uncapped, Brumbies, 29)

 

Isi Naisarani (11, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

 

James O’Connor (55, Queensland Reds, 31)

 

Brandon Paenga-Amosa (12, Queensland Reds, 25)

 

Duncan Paia’aua* (uncapped, Toulon, 26)

 

Hunter Paisami (9, Queensland Reds, 23)

 

Jordan Petaia (8, Queensland Reds, 21)

 

Matt Philip (12 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 27)

 

Tom Robertson (24, Western Force, 26)

 

Izack Rodda (25, Western Force, 24)

 

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (28, Queensland Reds, 24)

 

Pete Samu (10, Brumbies, 29)

 

Scott Sio (68, Brumbies, 29)

 

James Slipper (103, Brumbies, 32)

 

Darcy Swain (3, Brumbies, 24)

 

Lachlan Swinton (2, NSW Waratahs, 24)

 

Matt To’omua (57, Melbourne Rebels, 31)

 

Taniela Tupou (28, Queensland Reds, 25)

 

Jordan Uelese (13, Melbourne Rebels, 24)

 

Rob Valetini (7, Brumbies, 22)

 

Nic White (37, Brumbies, 31)

 

Harry Wilson (8, Queensland Reds, 21)

 

Tom Wright (5, Brumbies, 24)

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