Cheika sends trio back to NRC

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has elected to send Lopeti Timani, Rory Arnold and Izaia Perese back to Australia to ensure they get some game time before the third Bledisloe.

Cheika forecast some players would be sent home after the Springboks Test and he has done just that, with the squad emerging from the Bloemfontein Test unscathed.

"I want them to all go play a couple of games of NRC," Cheika said after the 27-all draw.

"They all have NRC next week and NRC the week after, before we come back in for the Bledisloe camp."Rory Arnold is heading back to Canberra. Photo: ARU MediaThe release of Timani and Arnold comes as little surprise as the pair have struggled to crack the 23 in recent weeks but Perese looked a sneaky chance of a Test debut in Mendoza.

He has been training the house down but with Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete and Henry Speight all currently ahead of him in the pecking order, a debut has been painfully out of reach.

The 20-year-old's time will come but for now, Cheika wants him to get some game time, using Bloemfontein debutant Lukhan Tui as an example of the benefit time in the NRC can provide.

"He's killing it," Cheika said of Perese.

"That's why I don't want him to just stay here and train.Izaia Perese will rejoin Queensland Country. Photo: Getty Images"He is a very competitive position, and I think he is a guy who can defend in the midfield as well.

"He has that genuine pace, he had a great mindset and a great attitude.

"So he is coming along very nicely but I want him to play footy as well.

"Lukhan got back in here from playing footy in the NRC and got a look in.

"If he was just training he wouldn't have got on the field so wherever we can, we want them to play footy."

The Wallabies travel to Buenos Aires today, where they will stay and train until Thursday, before making the trip to Mendoza.