Dave Rennie unveils 38-man Wallabies squad for Test series vs. France

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has unveiled several shock selections in naming a 38-man squad to contest the three-Test series against France next month.

Rennie has included Waratahs centre Lalakai Foketi and Rebels utility Andrew Kellaway, alongside fellow uncapped Melbourne players Michael Wells and Rob Leota in the national setup for the first time.

Kellaway is the biggest surprise given he had only returned to the Rebels at the start of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, meaning he has done enough in just five games to earn his place for the first time.

"If you watched the game yesterday [Rebels vs. Crusaders] he was impressive, wasn't he? Rennie told Stan Sport when asked about Kellaway's selection. "Playing at centre, he had an outstanding defensive game. He's got genuine speed, he pulled down Will Jordan from behind.

"So look he's come back at a good time hasn't he? There are a couple of injuries out wide, [but] he's played really well and his versatility; obviously he played 13 yesterday, he plays wing, he plays fullback and gives us a kicking game back there.

"And I agree he's matured hugely and I'm sure he's surprised as anyone around the call that he would have got from Wisey [Scott Wisemantel] today."

There are seven further uncapped players in the squad, though each of Pone Fa'amausili, Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu'u, Lachlan Lonergan, Andy Muirhead, Izaia Perese and Darcy Swain have all experienced life with the Wallabies at the camp in April earlier this year or previously in the past.

There will however be severe question marks on the fitness of Perese after he was taken to hospital following a shoulder injury in the Waratahs' loss to the Chiefs on Saturday night. The same goes for back-rower Lachlan Swinton, though his chances of playing against the French will lie with a SANZAAR judiciary hearing after he was red-carded for a dangerous cleanout against the Chiefs.

There is a recall for both Isi Naisarani and Scott Sio after the forward duo were left out of Rennie's squad for the camp in Sydney earlier this year, while Matt Philip is back after wrapping up his Top 14 commitments in France.

Philip is one of four locks in the squad, joining veteran Sitaleki Timani, the Reds' Lukhan Salakai-Loto and Brumbies youngster Swain.

Having outlined hooker has a position of concern, Rennie has gone for experience in the form of Brandon Paenga-Amosa despite the Reds front-rower's looming departure for France, while Feleti Kaitu'u and Lachlan Lonergan are the other options.

Michael Hooper will captain the team against France with Fraser McReight included as his back-up No. 7, but there is no place for Reds captain Liam Wright. The news wasn't good for the Brumbies' Pete Samu either, the back-rower perhaps paying the price for a lack of recent rugby because of injury.

NSW captain Jake Gordon has been included despite suffering a knee injury against the Highlanders in Round 4 of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman while prop Angus Bell missed both of the Waratahs' closing fixtures. Rennie confirmed that Brumbies scrum-half Ryan Lonergan would join the squad as cover for Gordon despite not being named in the official 38.

Rennie's squad includes 12 Brumbies, 9 Reds, 9 Rebels, 6 Waratahs and 2 Force players and has an average age of just 25.

The first Test against France is at the Sydney Cricket Ground on July 7.

Wallabies squad. vs. France


Alan Alaalatoa, Angus Bell, Pone Fa'amausili, Michael Hooper, Feleti Kaitu'u, Rob Leota, Lachlan Lonergan, Fraser McReight, Isi Naisarani, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachie Swinton, Sitaleki Timani, Taniel Tupou, Rob Valetini, Michael Wells, Harry Wilson.


Tom Banks, Filipo Daugunu, Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Mariko Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, Andy Muirhead, James O'Connor, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Matt To'omua, Nic White, Tom Wright.