Cheika rests regulars for Barbarians week

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is leaving 13 of his regular starters on the sideline for the side's Barbarians clash next Saturday, bringing in some big names back from the Test wilderness.

Superstar fullback Israel Folau is the only regular XV player in the 28-man squad named by Cheika, Scott Sio, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Michael Hooper, Sean McMahon, Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete and Tevita Kuridrani all being put on ice.

The game may just be a last-minute chance for some luckless stars to push their Spring Tour credentials, with Reds captain James Slipper (achilles), Force skipper Ben McCalman (scapula) in the squad for the first time this year, while Brumbies centre Kyle Godwin and Jake Gordon return from June.

"We've got guys coming back into the squad now like James Slipper and Ben McCalman who we haven't had in the Wallaby family for a bit now, because of injury," Cheika said.Ben McCalman is back in the Wallabies fold. Photo: Walmsley"They've worked hard to get back to playing again and so it will be nice to have them back in the squad."

It will also provide a chance for players like Izaia Perese, who has been training the house down in Wallabies camp without getting a Wallabies debut.

"He's definitely going to be getting a chance next weekend," Cheika said.

"He's a player who I have really enjoyed coaching and he's still got a lot of improvement."Australia U20s Liam right in action for Easts. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelThe inclusion of Reds backrower Liam Wright is the biggest surprise in the group, the Australian U20s star being rewarded for some strong showings with Queensland Country, despite being yet to make his Super Rugby debut.

He is billed as an out and out fetcher in the David Pocock mould but Cheika said he has seen even more than that from the Churchie product.

"He's stood out, for mine, I think he has been excellent for a Queensland Country team in the NRC that have really played well," Cheika said of Wright.

"I think he's got a little bit more to his game than that.

"It looks like he runs their lineouts, he's tall, so he has definitely has lineout capabilities.

"He is a guy on the ground as well and Dempsey is playing with a bit more of that.

"We've had such a great tradition in Australia of the out and out fetcher and I think maybe we went too far down that road and lost some of our ball carriers.

"We have got to get that right blend between getting the ball on the ground and carrying the ball.

"(Wright) is going to be a welcome addition into the team, something different."

Stephen Moore is in line for one more chance to play on Australian soil as a Wallaby, though it won't add another Test to his name.

Just who will take the playmaking reins in Sydney remains to be seen, with Foley, Hodge and Beale's absences leaving Duncan Paia'aua, Karmichael Hunt and Godwin as the main options for the flyhalf role in Sydney.

Adam Korczyk has been ruled out with injury, after fracturing his ribs playing for Brisbane City.

The Wallabies will convene in Sydney on Sunday night, ahead of Saturday's Barbarians match, while the Barbarians are in Lismore until Tuesday, playing a match against the Classic Wallabies, before landing in Sydney on Wednesday.

The Barbarians will take on the Classic Wallabies on Tuesday October 24, kicking off at 5:30pm AEDT, raising money for the Lismore Flood Appeal. The game will be streamed LIVE on

The Wallabies vs Barbarians kicks off at 3pm AEDT on Saturday October 28, at Allianz Stadium, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and Win.


IN: Ben McCalman, Kane Douglas, Liam Wright, Kyle Godwin, Jake Gordon, James Slipper

OUT: Scott Sio, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Michael Hooper, Sean McMahon, Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Korczyk (ribs), Izack Rodda (shoulder) 

Wallabies squad for the Barbarians 


Jermaine Ainsley*, Western Force

Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Tests, Brumbies

Rory Arnold, 15 Tests, Brumbies

Jack Dempsey, 6 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Kane Douglas, 31 Tests, Queensland Reds

Folau Fainga'a*, Brumbies

Tetera Faulkner, 3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Ned Hanigan, 9 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Ben McCalman, 49 Tests, Western Force

Stephen Moore, 125 Tests, Queensland Reds

Tom Robertson, 15 Tests, NSW Waratahs

James Slipper, 86 Tests, Queensland Reds

Lopeti Timani, 9 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Lukhan Tui, 3 Tests, Queensland Reds

Jordan Uelese, 2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels

Liam Wright*, Queensland Reds


Israel Folau, 62 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Kyle Godwin, 1 Test, Brumbies

Jake Gordon*, NSW Waratahs

Karmichael Hunt, 3 Tests, Queensland Reds

Samu Kerevi, 14 Tests, Queensland Reds

Billy Meakes*, Western Force

Duncan Paia'aua*, Queensland Reds

Izaia Perese*, Queensland Reds

Nick Phipps, 58 Tests, NSW Waratahs

Joe Powell, 2 Tests, Brumbies

Curtis Rona, 2 Tests, Western Force

Henry Speight, 17 Tests, Brumbies

*denotes uncapped player