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Rugby News

Tatafu in squad for Bledisloe Cup clashes

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Leicester Tigers hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has been named in Australia’s squad for the final Rugby Championship round against New Zealand at the Optus Stadium in Perth.

The 36-man squad will arrive in Perth on Sunday ahead of the first-ever Test match at Optus Stadium with the Rugby Championship crown still up for grabs, and the 89-cap forward will hope to be involved after recovering from knee surgery over the summer.

The Perth clash will be one of two Bledisloe Cup Tests in 2019 with the reverse fixture in Auckland not included in the Rugby Championship schedule.

Perth has never hosted a clash between Australia and New Zealand in the trophy’s 116-year history with the Wallabies out to break a 16-year drought in 2019.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “We know it’s going to be a packed house in Perth, full of Wallabies fans cheering us on and seeing what we’re building towards. We want to make every Australian proud of our performance next Saturday.

“Squad decisions are getting harder and harder to make. So many lads are putting their hands up at training and at club rugby around the country, and each one of them is pushing the other to get better each day.”

Australia – who can also call on the services of former Tigers back Matt Toomua – beat Argentina last time out, and sit third in the Rugby Championship table behind South Africa and the All Blacks going into this final round.

“We were pleased to get the win against Argentina and we felt we built on some things from the previous game against South Africa and now we’ll be looking to build on that,” Cheika continued.

“There’s strong belief in the group and it’s showing itself in how hard they’re training and how committed they are to doing whatever they need to do to achieve our goals.”

Wallabies Squad for Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand

Allan Alaalatoa (32 Tests, Brumbies)
Rory Arnold (21 Tests , Brumbies)
Adam Coleman (31 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
Folau Fainga’a (9 Tests, Brumbies)
Michael Hooper (c) (93 Tests, NSW Waratahs)
Luke Jones (4 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
Sekope Kepu (105 Tests, NSW Waratahs)
Tolu Latu (12 Tests, NSW Waratahs)
Isi Naisarani (2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
David Pocock (77 Tests, Brumbies)
Tatafu Polota-Nau (89 Tests, Leicester Tigers)
Izack Rodda (19 Tests, Queensland Reds)
Rob Simmons (96 Tests, NSW Waratahs)
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (13 Tests, Queensland Reds)
Scott Sio (56 Tests, Brumbies)
James Slipper (88 Tests, Brumbies)
Taniela Tupou (13 Tests, Queensland Reds)
Jordan Uelese (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
Rob Valetini (uncapped, Brumbies)
Liam Wright (uncapped, Queensland Reds) 

Adam Ashley-Cooper (117 Tests, NSW Waratahs)
Tom Banks (4 Tests, Brumbies)
Kurtley Beale (85 Tests, NSW Waratahs)
Bernard Foley (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs)
Will Genia (102 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
Dane Haylett-Petty (32 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
Reece Hodge (35 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
Samu Kerevi (27 Tests, Queensland Reds)
Marika Koroibete (21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
Tevita Kuridrani (60 Tests, Brumbies)
Christian Leali’ifano (20 Tests, Brumbies)
James O’Connor (45 Tests, Queensland Reds)
Jordan Petaia (uncapped, Queensland Reds)
Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies)
Matt Toomua (44 Tests, Melbourne Rebels)
Nic White (22 Tests, Exeter Chiefs)