Sydney - Drew Mitchell and Radike Samo were
recalled Tuesday for the inaugural Rugby Championship and there were
three uncapped players in a Wallabies squad that coach Robbie Deans said
Injuries saw Mitchell and Samo miss the June
Tests when Australia were beaten by Scotland before clean-sweeping Wales
3-0, but the pair finished the Super Rugby season well, and impressed at
recent national training camps.
Mitchell is back after ankle and
hamstring injuries and will be a welcome addition to the Wallabies, with
only five players scoring more Australian Test tries than the
28-year-old, who has been capped 58 times.
Samo is fit again after
a shoulder injury that blighted his Super Rugby campaign. The widely
travelled loose forward made a remarkable Test return in 2011 after a
seven-year absence and ended that year with a Tri-Nations title.
three uncapped players include two of the most recent Australian
under-20 captains - Liam Gill, who skippered the side at this year's
junior World Cup in South Africa, and his predecessor Jake Schatz.
Hard-working Waratahs lock Kane Douglas also earns a call-up.
inclusion of Gill, plus June newcomer Michael Hooper from the Brumbies, bolsters the Wallabies' back-up resources behind premier
openside flanker and captain David Pocock.
"There's an injection
of players in areas where we historically haven't had a lot of depth,
openside being an obvious one which is great for those two blokes (Gill
and Hooper)," Deans told reporters.
"Michael Hooper has had a
taste and introduction and Liam fulfilled his obligations to the
(Australian) under-20s before we involved him in this instance.
"It's good to have those two points of enthusiasm added to the group."
selections of second-rower Douglas and Sitaleki Timani add size and
power to the Australian set-pieces. The two young locks, along with Rob
Simmons, will be mentored by Test centurion Nathan Sharpe.
34-year-old's decision to postpone retirement and stay on for the Rugby
Championship provides an opportunity to chase down George Smith as the
second most-capped Wallaby, and Deans praised the veteran.
is probably playing the best rugby of his career, to be honest," he
said. "It becomes very clear when the end looms, and he's enjoying his
The Rugby Championship, which introduces Argentina for the
first time to the annual southern hemisphere competition that includes
New Zealand and South Africa, will run over six weekends from August 18
to October 6.
Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Mike Harris, Scott Higginbotham, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Nick Phipps, David Pocock (captain), Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Radike Samo, Jake Schatz, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Sitaleki Timani, Nic White