Suliasi Vunivalu and Tom Banks headline an Australia A squad for a three-match tour of Japan next month, as the regard newly-signed Waratahs teenager Max Jorgensen is held in became clear on Wednesday.
Rugby Australia has named a 34-man group to be coached by Jason Gilmore, who was also in charge of the Pacific Nations Cup campaign, which will see Australia A face a Japan XV over three consecutive weeks in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Osaka.
The tour will provide valuable playing time for the likes of Vunivalu and fellow Wallabies squad members Jock Campbell, Nick Frost, Pone Fa'amausili, Langi Gleeson, Lachlan Lonergan and Darcy Swain, though the latter's involvement may well depend on the result of a SANZAAR judiciary hearing on Wednesday evening.
Given the timing of the announcement, Swain's inclusion may also be a clever move to allow him to serve some of the suspension he potentially might receive for targeting the legs of Quinn Tupaea in last week's Bledisloe Cup opener, perhaps affording the Brumbies lock greater involvement on the spring tour.
Banks' inclusion is another interesting move, given the fullback has wrapped up his time with the Brumbies and will spend the next few seasons in the Japanese Top League.
Injured in the Wallabies' first Test victory over England in July, Banks was thought to have had his final involvement in Australian rugby for 2022, but his inclusion in the Australia A squad suggests Wallabies coach Dave Rennie hasn't completely crossed the fullback off his World Cup list just yet.
Australia A won two of their three matches during the Pacific Nations Cup, finishing the tournament in second spot behind Samoa.
"It's great to have these three matches coming up to continue the development and give our players more game time against high level international opposition," Gilmore said.
"With Dave Rennie's guidance, we've picked the best possible players who are available and everyone's really excited to put the work in on the training paddock and perform well over in Japan."
With all three matches taking place before Australia's first Test of the spring tour, the likes of Vunivalu, Fa'aumasili and Frost are expected to then head onto Europe with Rennie's Wallabies squad.
Jorgensen's inclusion as a development player, meanwhile, comes a day after he signed a two-year deal with the Waratahs while still at school.
The St Joseph's College student, who starred in the school's undefeated GPS premiership-winning team, has been in the Waratahs academy for the past few years and will now get a proper taste of a professional environment as part of the Australia A squad.
While he is only an outside chance of playing in the three matches, Jorgensen is highly rated by Rugby Australia with the governing body thrilled to have kept him in the 15-player game and away from the clutches of multiple NRL clubs.
Australia A squad for Japan Tour
Richie Asiata, Tom Banks, Ollie Callan, Jock Campbell, Hudson Creighton, Filipo Daugunu, Ben Donaldson, Tane Edmed, Pone Fa'amausili, Nick Frost, Matt Gibbon, Langi Gleeson, Ned Hanigan, Isaac Henry, Archer Holz, Harry Hoopert, Max Jorgensen*, Bayley Kuenzle, Lachlan Lonergan, Ryan Lonergan, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Caderyn Neville, Dylan Pietsch, Billy Pollard, Tom Robertson, Rory Scott, Ryan Smith, Hamish Stewart, Darcy Swain, James Tuttle, Seru Uru, Suli Vunivalu, Queensland RedsBrad Wilkin, Melbourne Rebels, Teddy Wilson, *denotes Development Player
Saturday, October 1, at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo
Saturday, October 8, at Best Denki Stadium in Fukuoka
Friday, October 14, at Yodoko Sakura Stadium in Osaka