Patience call on Wallabies young guns

Wallabies win 4 in a row in 2021 as they down the Pumas at CBUS stadium

Fraser McReight has been left out of the Wallabies' Spring Tour squad but coach Dave Rennie insists it's all part of a plan to have him threatening captain Michael Hooper's hold on the No.7 jersey.

McReight and Queensland Reds backrow partner Harry Wilson, as well as Brumbies five-eighth Noah Lolesio and hooker Lachlan Lonergan were not named in the 37-man squad on Friday that will play Japan, Scotland, England and Wales.

Watch every minute of Wallabies v Japan on Stan Sport. Start your Free Sport Trial Now

Instead they'll remain in Australia to get a full preseason at their respective clubs, while enjoying some rare rest after nearly two years of continuous rugby.

A specialist openside flanker, 22-year-old McReight captained Australia's under-20 side to the World Cup final and was named best on ground in last year's Super Rugby AU final.

But he's stuck behind his in-form and indefatigable captain Hooper and unable to earn a spot on the bench for the Wallabies, Rennie admitting carrying both in the same side exposes a "lack of versatility".

Likewise Wilson (22) has fallen behind Rob Valetini and 21-year-old Lolesio is now behind returned veterans Quade Cooper and James O'Connor in the battle for the playmaker role.

Rennie remains massive fans of all of them, including emerging hooker Lonergan, and is confident they'll take their omissions the right way.

"If he can accelerate his game over the next period like he has in the last 12 months he's going to put a lot of pressure on Hoops," Rennie said of McReight.

"There's no guarantees for everyone.

"Everyone wants to tour, and you take Harry, who hasn't played Test match footy in the last month, he's desperate to play at this level.

"But staying home is going to give him an opportunity to make shifts physically in his game to allow him to excel at this level.

"This gives him a plan."

Rennie said Lolesio's goal was to bulk up in the off-season after being thrown into the Wallabies side.

“Likewise with Noah, he needs to put on some muscle mass and deal with the physical nature of defending at ten," he said.

“He’ll work on getting more explosive and acceleration, trying to get some distance in his kicking game and this will give him time to do that.

“Both good young men who we think have big futures in the gold jersey and a chance to make some shifts.”

He also said 25-year-old second rower Lukhan Salakaia-Loto needed to work on his leg drive and lower his body height among other things after being overlooked for the squad.

READ MORE:

RETURN: Campbell embracing competition after injury

PROPING UP: 'Tahs sign prop duo

ON TOUR: 'Reds to regions' announced for third tour

Salakaia-Loto has been a regular Wallabies starter but left the squad for the birth of his daughter and has now fallen down the pecking order.

Rennie also confirmed that incumbent Wallabies winger Jordan Petaia would play fullback for the Barbarians side he will coach against Samoa in London on November 27.

The coach opted against calling on France-based Kurtley Beale for the Spring Tour, with incumbent No.15 Reece Hodge, winger Andrew Kellaway, O'Connor and Petaia all options to fill the void left by injured Tom Banks.

Share
Ian Foster has penned a two-year extension with the All Blacks. Photo: Getty Images
Decision-making under pressure a problem for All Blacks: Foster
Two Blues and Penrith face off in 2020
Penrith to join John I Dent Cup in 2022 after Shute Shield exit
Ex-All Black Andrew Blowers has signed with the Rebels as a leadership coach. Photo: Getty Images
Rebels add ex-All Black Blowers to revamped coaching staff
Lopeti Timani had a productive 80 minutes against Wales last weekend. Photo: Getty Images
Former Wallaby Timani in Tongan squad for northern tour
Rugby.com.au Logo

The Rugby.com.au are a proud part of Rugby AU

© 2021 Australian Rugby. All rights reserved.