Hunt returns to Wallabies squad

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Karmichael Hunt has been brought straight back into the Wallabies fold after just 40 minutes of NRC.

Hunt has been named in Michael Cheika’s squad for the third Bledisloe Test next week and the Barbarians clash a week later, despite having played just one half of rugby, for Brisbane City.

The utility back was one of Australia’s standouts in June before suffering a syndesmosis injury in the latter rounds of Super Rugby, ruling him out of the Rugby Championship.

Cheika said he wouldn’t rush Hunt back into the 23 if he wasn’t ready, and with the return of Kurtley Beale and Reece Hodge’s outstanding Rugby Championship form, the 30-year-old will have to prove himself all over again.

“I wouldn't expect it (Hunt to return to the matchday 23),” he said.

“We'll see how he goes at training, how he plays this weekend in NRC and then how he goes in training.

“In the last camp in June, he pretty much forced his way into the team.

“In the first week of training, I wouldn't have had him pencilled in and he could well do that again this week.

“He's probably got a bit more competition now as we've built the squad over the Rugby Championship.”

Hunt has only played at 12 for the Wallabies and Cheika said that or fullback, where he regularly plays for Queensland, would likely be his only options.

“I think he can go 12 or fullback, plays fullback at his state team and 12, I think he can mix between the two more than comfortably,” he said.

“He can play a running playmaker role, as well, and he's a very solid defender.”

Reds flanker Adam Korczyk, utility back izaia Perese, Brumbies lock Rory Arnold and Rebels backrower Lopeti Timani all return to the squad, with Kirczyk released from the South Africa and Argentina legs of the Rugby Championship and the latter three coming home ahead of the Pumas Test.

Cheika has also added Jermaine Ainsley, Duncan Paiaaua and Folau Faingaa as three development players for the next fortnight, with an eye more to the Barbarians game.

That trio could be in the mix to follow in the footsteps of players like Jack Dempsey and Izaia Perese, who were taken on the Spring Tour last year and graduated into the fully-fledged Wallabies squad.

With Stephen Moore set to bow out of Test rugby at the end of the year, Brumbies hooker Faingaa has become the next in line to audition for a step up, with Cheika also taking a keen interest in WA rake Anaru Rangi.

Rangi will be playing with the Barbarians against the Wallabies later this month.

Folau Faingaa will be a development player. Photo: Getty Images“I think Folau Faingaa's a guy we'd like to come and have a closer look at from what he's done in NRC,” Cheika said.

“He's gone down to the Vikings and done quite well.

“We've also got our eye on Rangi out of Perth. He's been a standout for me. I know he doesn't play regularly but when he plays he's all 100 per cent commitment and I really like that.

“Also, Mafi out of Queensland as well.

“There's  some newer guys on the scene that we'll be looking to try and blood and give a bit more experience.”

The Wallabies will convene on the Gold Coast on Sunday, ahead of the third Bledisloe Test next Saturday in Brisbane.

Australia will take on New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday October 14, kicking off at 7pm local and 8pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RADIO.


IN: Adam Korczyk, Izaia Perese, Lopeti Timani, Rory Arnold, Jermaine Ainsley (development), Folau Faingaa (development), Duncan Paiaaua (development)

Wallabies squad for third Bledisloe Test


Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Tests, Brumbies

Rory Arnold, 15 Tests, Brumbies

Adam Coleman, 17 Tests, Western Force

Jack Dempsey, 5 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Tetera Faulkner, 3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Ned Hanigan, 8 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Michael Hooper (c), 74 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Sekope Kepu, 86 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Adam Korczyk*, Queensland Reds

Sean McMahon, 21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Stephen Moore, 124 Tests, Queensland Reds

Tatafu Polota-Nau, 77 Tests, Western Force

Tom Robertson, 14 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Izack Rodda, 4 Tests, Queensland Reds

Rob Simmons, 77 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Scott Sio, 38 Tests, Brumbies

Lopeti Timani, 9 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Lukhan Tui, 2 Tests, Queensland Reds

Jordan Uelese, 2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels


Kurtley Beale, 66 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Israel Folau, 61 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Bernard Foley (vc), 51 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Will Genia (vc), 84 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Reece Hodge, 19 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Karmichael Hunt, 3 Tests, Queensland Reds

Samu Kerevi, 13 Tests, Queensland Reds

Marika Koroibete, 3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Tevita Kuridrani, 53 Tests, Brumbies

Billy Meakes*, Western Force

Izaia Perese*, Queensland Reds

Nick Phipps, 57 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Joe Powell, 2 Tests, Brumbies

Curtis Rona, 2 Tests, Western Force

Henry Speight, 17 Tests, Brumbies

Development Group

Folau Fainga'a*, Brumbies

Jermaine Ainsley*, Western Force

Duncan Paia'aua*, Queensland Reds

*denotes uncapped player