Leicester Tigers hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau recalled to Wallabies squad for Bledisloe Cup clash

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Tatafu Polota-Nau is back in the Wallabies squad

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has today announced a 36-man squad for a training camp in Cessnock ahead of the opening Bledisloe Cup clash at ANZ Stadium on Saturday August 18.

82-Test veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau has been selected after Cheika elected to rest the 33-year old in the June Ireland Series.

The squad features six uncapped players including rookie sensation Jordan Petaia, who shone in Friday night’s Bledisloe Cup trial at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.

Petaia and Rebels centre Billy Meakes add cover to the midfield after injuries ruled out Test regulars Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi.

Captain Michael Hooper will continue his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury that he suffered in the final Test against Ireland while Crusaders’ Super Rugby champion Pete Samu will re-join his Wallabies teammates this week after completing his club duties in New Zealand.

The squad will be revised following the camp in Cessnock with the Wallabies to reconvene next Sunday at a fan day in Blacktown in Sydney’s west.

Wallabies 36-man squad for Cessnock training camp ahead of opening Bledisloe Cup clash

(Test caps, Super Rugby side and age)

Forwards

Jermaine Ainsley* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 22)

Allan Alaalatoa (23 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Rory Arnold (15 Tests, Brumbies, 28)

Adam Coleman (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Folau Faingaa* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)

Ned Hanigan (13 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)

Michael Hooper (c) (82 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

Sekope Kepu (94 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 32)

Tolu Latu (7 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)

Brandon Paenga-Amosa (3 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

David Pocock (69 Tests, Brumbies, 30)

Tatafu Polota-Nau (82 Tests, Leicester, 33)

Tom Robertson (21 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)

Izack Rodda (7 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)

Pete Samu (3 Tests, Brumbies, 26)

Rob Simmons (85 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Scott Sio (46 Tests, Brumbies, 26)

Caleb Timu (2 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)

Lukhan Tui (7 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)

Taniela Tupou (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Backs

Tom Banks* (uncapped, Brumbies, 24)

Kurtley Beale (74 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Israel Folau (65 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Bernard Foley (58 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 28)

Will Genia (90 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)

Dane Haylett-Petty (21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)

Reece Hodge (27 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 23)

Marika Koroibete (11 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Jack Maddocks* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 21)

Billy Meakes* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 27)

Sefa Naivalu (7 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Jordan Petaia* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 18)

Nick Phipps (64 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Curtis Rona (3 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

Matt Toomua (33 Tests, Leicester/Melbourne Rebels, 28)

*denotes uncapped

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Nigeria Black Stallions appoint new South African coach Bronson Weir

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New Nigeria Black Stallions coach, Bronson Weir

South African Bronson Weir has been appointed as the head coach of Nigeria’s National Team, the Black Stallions.

The appointment was announced on Thursday by the Nigerian Rugby’s (NRFF) president, Kelechukwu Mbagwu, following the re-admittance of Nigeria to international competition by Rugby Africa.

Bronson’s first assignment will be to lead the Black Stallions in the friendly against Niger Republic in Niamey on August 11.

The friendly game is seen by many as symbolic because it will be the first activity of the federation on the international scene after their election and inauguration in 2017.

Mbagwu also announced that Nigeria will be participating at the 2018 Africa Rugby Regional Sevens in Ivory Coast on September 15-16.

Meanwhile, the federation has opened Rugby House in Lagos for the smooth daily operations of rugby affairs in Nigeria.

“To this end, Mike Archer has been appointed as the General Manager of the NRFF,” said Mbagwu.

“He is going to take over the day to day running of rugby and seasoned administrators will work under him.”

The president also announced the appointment of Martin Crawford as Elite Rugby Director.

“The latest landmark is part of our plan for a comprehensive data base of rugby players in the country and embark on our Get Into Rugby program fully,” he continued.

“This will put an end to an era of no records which has continued to kill the game in Nigeria.”

About Bronson Weir

Bronson Weir worked from 2008 to 2011 with the South African Students Sevens team in different capacities.

He started as assistant coach and manager of the team in 2008. In 2010, he was appointed as head coach for the SA Students team for 2010 and 2011.

As coach, Bronson won the Casablanca Sevens competition in 2010 and 2011. During the SA Students team’s participation in the Central Sevens competition in France, the team won in 2010 and finished second in 2011.

As coach, Bronson worked with players such as Okkie Kruger, Justin Geduld, Cheslin Kolbe and Jamba Ulengo, who are now playing on the World Rugby Sevens Series and have played Varsity Cup, Vodacom Cup and Super Rugby.

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Matt Toomua returns to Wallabies and signs with Melbourne Rebels

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Matt Toomua is returning to Australia

Matt Toomua has put pen to paper on a two and a half year deal with Rugby Australia and the Melbourne Rebels, to return to Super Rugby next season.

The veteran playmaker is now immediately eligible for the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup campaign which kicks off at ANZ Stadium against New Zealand on Saturday August 18.

The 33-Test utility back last played for the Wallabies in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test of 2016 before joining Leicester Tigers in England’s Premiership.

“Leicester have been fantastic to me throughout my time here. The option to return to Australia was something that did exist within my contract, only if a chance to represent the Wallabies was there and, with a Rugby World Cup next year, was ultimately one I couldn’t turn down,” Toomua said.

“As well as a chance to represent my country at a World Cup again, the return home also allows me to be closer to both my wife and family after nearly three years on the opposite side of the world.

“The Rebels are a Club on the rise and I was really impressed after having a few conversations with Dave (Wessels) about his plans for the future.

“I am still very much a Tigers player and, if anything, being able to have this all sorted is more positive than have a decision hanging over my head.

“I absolutely love Leicester, have become close friends with all of my teammates here and want to go out in a successful way,” Toomua.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “I’m really excited that Matt has decided to return home. He wanted to come back to play rugby in Australia again and also to represent Australia again.

“It’s a massive boost to the squad and adds to the depth that we’ve built for the broader Wallabies squad in a key position,” Cheika said.

Toomua will be able to serve out his current contract with Leicester in full before joining Melbourne midway through the 2019 Super Rugby season.

At this stage, Toomua will not be considered for selection in Friday night’s Bledisloe Cup trial at Leichhardt Oval.

Matt Toomua

Position: Centre

Height: 182cm

Weight: 90kg

DOB: 2/01/90

Test debut: 2013 v New Zealand, Sydney

Test caps: 33

Test points: 20 (4T)

Super Rugby debut: 2008 v Hurricanes, Canberra

Super Rugby caps: 88

Super Rugby points: 102

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