Cheika's overseas-bound exception

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies have closed the door on three overseas-bound stars but there’s one rising star whose looming departure abroad hasn’t affected his Test chances.

Reds centre Campbell Magnay is one of 11 uncapped players who was named in an extended Wallabies squad named on Wednesday, despite having signed a two-year deal in Japan.

Rob Horne (Northampton), Will Skelton (Saracens) and Scott Fardy (Leinster) have all seemingly played their last Tests, Cheika releasing them immediately to join their overseas clubs for the 2017-18 season.

Horne was the only one of those to feature in June, partly due to an injury to Samu Kerevi, but Cheika has made it clear that overseas-bound players would not be part of his plans unless they were in the best XV. 

Rob Horne was a late call-up into the Wallabies squad. Photo: Getty ImagesIt’s a move in contrast with similar situations last year, when he pushed against early releases for players including Liam Gill, with Cheika admitting this was a decision with a view firmly on the next two years.

“I think that’s right and fair once we decide that we’re looking into moving on there, they’ve made their decisions to go away,” he said.

“We’ve obviously talked about rebuilding, renovating and rebuilding the team which I think it’s well and truly underway now, close to completed around changing names and getting people a bit of exposure and now’s the time to start getting to grips around how we play, this is how we do it, having the willpower to stay to that and making the sacrifices required at the top of the tree.”

Despite that, Cheika said Magnay’s plans had not affected his decision in bringing the 20-year-old into the Test frame.

When asked which of the rookies in the mammoth squad, that still has a Brumbies contingent to be added, would be the closest to a matchday 23 pick, he singled out Magnay, whom he has praised often this year.

“I’ve actually liked the touches that Magnay’s had since he’s come back in (from injury),” he said.

“I’ve had my eye on his form before and I’ve liked some of the touches he’s had since he’s come back. 

“He’s big, strong, aggressive, fast and I want to take a look at everyone when they come in and get a look at it first-hand. 

Campbell Magnay is in the Wallabies train-on squad. Photo: Getty Images“There’s going to be some non-negotiables about how we play and it’s about who brings those straight away, especially in these games against New Zealand because we’ll have the opportunity to be a bit more prepared there.”

Cheika said he hadn’t yet discussed Magnay’s moves going forward, but said he would certainly speak to him in camp.

“That’ll be up to him,” he said.

“I don’t think so, i haven’t really spoken to him about it. 

“I’ve had one chance to talk to him previously but once I get a chance to speak with him and sit down with him, I’ll ask him why he’s doing that and where he sees himself in the bigger picture for rugby all round and then go from there.”

The Wallabies squad will train in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth this week before heading to Newcastle next week for camp.