Reece Hodge firms for All Blacks test as Michael Cheika cuts eight from Wallabies squad

Alex Broun 00:27 14/08/2018
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Reece Hodge could be wearing the No13 jersey against the All Blacks

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has today trimmed his squad to 28, ahead of the opening Bledisloe Cup clash at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 18 August.

Experienced trio Michael Hooper (hamstring), Scott Sio (shoulder) and Dane Haylett-Petty (knee) have all passed fitness tests to be available for Saturday night’s clash against the world’s number one side, New Zealand.

Hooper’s Waratahs team-mate Curtis Rona was among those cut, seemingly leaving Reece Hodge likely to play in the up for grabs outside centre spot, while Scott Sio has recovered from a shoulder injury to be included.

The other players to be cut from what was originally a 36-man squad were Jordan Petaia, Billy Meakes, Folau Fainga’a, Jermaine Ainsley, Rory Arnold, Caleb Timu and Sefa Naivalu.

Tom Banks and Jack Maddocks are the only two uncapped players in the squad with the versatile duo both edging closer to a Test debut.

Cheika said: “We’ll have some extra players in there on Monday and Tuesday, so we can get our training done and then I just think that I want to have a bit more focus on the group that’s going to play the game.

“I want the guys that are not playing in that given week to go and play some footy, whether it be Club or NRC, depending on the time of year.

“I just think that little bit of extra focus on a smaller group of players in there can build our alignment and cohesion.

“Everyone’s focused on the one task, everyone knows what their role is,” Cheika said.

The squad has just completed an intensive week-long camp in Cessnock and ]regathered at a fan day at Grantham Reserve, Blacktown on Sunday.

Wallabies 28-man squad for opening Bledisloe Cup clash

(Test caps, Super Rugby side and age)

Forwards

Allan Alaalatoa (23 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Adam Coleman (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

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)

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)

Nick Phipps (64 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

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

*denotes uncapped

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