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10 players to push for Wallabies selection for Rugby Championship

Wed, 20/07/2022, 5:28 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies and England faced off in the decider at the SCG.

With the Wallabies' series against England wrapped up, the attention turns to the Rugby Championship as Dave Rennie prepares to name his squad for Argentina on Thursday.

In normal circumstances, a series defeat such as this would see a raft of changes suggested to turn around the recent run of just one win from the past six matches.

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However, the growing injury list has seen positions decimated as several players were suddenly rushed into the squad.

The likes of Andrew Kellaway, Tom Banks, Izaia Perese, and Cadeyrn Neville are set to be on the injury list long-term, with Samu Kerevi and Mark Nawaqanitawase set to miss Argentina on Sevens duty.

This will see the dynamic of the squad shift, offering an open slot for a new International-based selection as well as giving some Australia A standouts the chance for a call-up.

With this in mind, Rugby.com.au looks at ten players pushing for selection for the Rugby Championship.

1.Fraser McReight

McReight was one of the standout players from the Pacific Nations Cup, stepping up as vice-captain.

It was a highly questioned decision at the time but it has seemed to pay off, exposing the flanker to high-level football rather than potentially leaving him holding a tackle bag for the entire England series.

With three quality games under his belt, it's expected McReight will come straight back into the squad for the Rugby Championship and push for a spot in the 23.

2. Rory Arnold

Kerevi's departure and a string of injuries has opened the door for Rory Arnold to make his return as the third overseas selection.

Rennie confirmed he is back in Australia after his stint in Toulouse, originally for brother Richie's wedding, and looms as a vital selection in a position that has lost Cadeyrn Neville, Jed Holloway and Ned Hanigan in the past month, with Darcy Swain returning from suspension.

Where he'd fit in after Kerevi's return is another question but some strong performances if selected will present plenty of headaches for Rennie and the coaching staff

3. Luke Jones

The debate around Arnold is where Luke Jones potentially comes into the mix, looking to add to his six caps.

Jones penned a long-term extension with the Reds on Tuesday, making him immediately available for selection for the Wallabies.

He offers a unique versatility, moved across both lock and flanker positions, whilst shoring up a position of need without compromising the current International selections.

4. Jock Campbell

Campbell continues to impress at the higher level, hunting for a call-up to the main squad.

He slotted into fullback for the final two games for Australia A, shining during their dominant win over Tonga.

After several injuries in the fullback position, Campbell will be hoping he has done enough to be selected.

5. Lalakai Foketi

Lalakai Foketi is one of the forgotten players from the Spring Tour as he attempts to add to his maiden cap.

Kerevi's departure and Perese's long-term injury leave the Wallabies thin at the centre position, not opting to call anyone up for the final two Tests.

With Ikitau missing the second Test with a calf complaint, this could see Foketi returned to camp to bolster the ranks ahead of a tough campaign.

6. Ryan Smith

Smith built off his breakout season with strong performances for Australia A.

Whilst he drew the ire of the referees on a number of occasions in the tournament, Smith proved he could match it at the next level after taking his game to another level with the Reds in 2022.

As already established, the second-row depth remains light with Smith looming as one of the main bolter for selection.

7. Filipo Daugunu

The Reds flyer has built off a career resurgence with one of the best runs of form since making his Wallaby debut in Wellington in late 2020.

He scored two tries and had a hand in the two others in a man-of-the-match performance against Tonga during an influential 70 minutes.

Daugunu relished playing in his Fijian homeland and if he can continue this form, he could find himself back in the gold jersey.

8. Ben Donaldson

Donaldson proved a calming figure for Australia A as he guided them across the park.

Stepping into the starting side for the final two games, his presence and control was clear to see as he engineered their victories over Fiji and Tonga.

He looms as the next man up after Quade Cooper's injury and James O'Connor's indifferent form.

9. Tom Robertson

Robertson finds himself as the right man in the right spot as the Wallabies all of a sudden deal with a injury crisis at loosehead prop.

Harry Johnson-Holmes and Scott Sio picked up injuries during the series whilst Rennie seemed to indicate Angus Bell's toe injury was worse than first thought.

Despite playing tighthead for Australia A, Robertson is a loosehead by nature and has shown in the past he can step up to the International level, called upon during the Rugby Championship.

10. Langi Gleeson

The biggest bolter on this list but arguably the most impressive player in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Gleeson began the tournament as a reserve but quickly established himself as the physical leader of the team as he bulldozed monster packs with his hard running game.

Whilst it's likely too soon given the depth the Wallabies have, Gleeson has firmly established himself as a player to watch for the rest of the year and beyond.

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