Gordon gets Wallabies June Series nod

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by Beth Newman

Waratahs scrumhalf Jake Gordon will be a part of the Wallabies June Series squad, after an ankle injury to Nick Phipps.

Gordon, who has started more games than Phipps for the Waratahs this season, has impressed plenty and was considered unlucky to miss out on the initial squad.

Phipps suffered an ankle syndesmosis injury in the Waratahs' loss to the Highlanders a week ago and was initially believed to be out of the woods for Test duty in June.

Scans in Sydney this week, though uncovered something more sinister, ruling Will Genia's backup out of the June Series.

Waratahs' experienced campaigner Rob Horne will also come into the squad, to replace Samu Kerevi, who is also out with syndesmosis.

Kerevi went down in the opening 10 minutes of the Reds' loss to the Blues in Samoa on Friday night, with the prognosis emerging post-match.

It's a cruel blow for the Reds stand-in skipper, who missed last year's Spring Tour with injury as well.

Horne's inclusion is an interesting one, with the Waratahs back heading offshore at the end of the season, among a group of players initially left out of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's squad.

Cheika said at the time that those overseas bound players would be called on if required in the starting team, but not picked in the wider squad in favour of players who would be in Australia for 2018 and beyond.

"Jake was involved in our camp in Canberra earlier this year and has really stepped up for the Waratahs in Super Rugby. He's another uncapped player but it will be good to expose him to the Test environment," Cheika said in a release.

"Rob has been a strong leader in our Wallabies environment and his experience will be invaluable in this relatively inexperienced squad.

"We really want to put a strong emphasis on leadership in this team and we have some young leaders in this squad who are continuing to develop,"

Cheika announced the changes on ABC's Offsiders on Sunday morning, also speaking about the fearless brand his team wants to play amid a dismal Super Rugby season.

"We’ve got to play with a certain attitude that says: Australian rugby - we’re in for the fight," - Michael Cheika.

"The amount of negativity that’s been around it will affect our fans. None of this exists without our fans being involved in it - nothing exists without them.

"When someone's running at you , you’re not thinking about whether there’s five teams or four teams."

"We’ve got to have more of that resilient attitude.

"Players have done well considering their on-field effort about seeing through that wood to say, 'We can still be the best."

The Wallabies squad arrives in Melbourne on Sunday ahead of Saturday's first June Test against Fiji, kicking off at 3pm AEST. Buy tickets here.

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