Sydney - Australia coach Ewen McKenzie included Henry Speight in his squad for
the Rugby Championship on Wednesday even though the Brumbies wing will be ineligible for selection for half of the campaign.
in-form Fijian will miss back-to-back Tests against New Zealand and the
clash with South Africa in Perth at the start of Australia's campaign
before he qualifies for the Wallabies on residential grounds on September 11.
The tackle-busting winger was the only uncapped player
included in the 32-man squad, which featured few changes from that for
the June Test series against France which Australia swept 3-0.
"We've named a 32-man squad so not everybody will get on the park," McKenzie said.
been in good form and he's going to become eligible. He was involved in
the squad in June informally and this just recognises where he is.
"There's no reason why he can't be involved in the preparations and learn a bit more about what we're about."
unmistakeable for his huge Afro, comes into the reckoning soon after
incumbent winger Nick Cummins, equally noticeable for his curly blonde
mop, effectively brought an end to his test career by electing to move
abroad to play in Japan.
"There's always players leaving and other players coming through," added McKenzie.
"Obviously, a crowd favourite in Nick Cummins departing but a really interesting guy coming through in Henry Speight."
Stephen Moore, who captained the side in the opening test against
France only to suffer a knee injury, was not available for selection so
flanker Michael Hooper will skipper the side in the southern hemisphere
championship, which also includes Argentina.
Will Genia (ankle) and Quade Cooper (shoulder) are also unavailable so
37-cap scrumhalf Luke Burgess will get a chance to press his case for a
test recall three years after he last played at the 2011 World Cup.
spoke to Will this morning," McKenzie said. "He's back running but he's
still way off being able to play. Quade's obviously looking at further
along in the series. We'll keep tracking them."
Kurtley Beale, who
came off the bench in all three Tests against the French, was named as
one of two flyhalves alongside his New South Wales Waratahs team-mate
The Waratahs play the Brumbies in a Super Rugby
semi-final this weekend and McKenzie said the form of the Australian
teams in the competition was one of several good signs for his mission
to bridge the gap with New Zealand.
"Each time we played them last year we got closer on the scoreboard but we didn't beat them," he said.
the reality of it. It gets down to the 80 minutes. The raw ingredients
are there but we've got to do something with them."
their first match against the world champions in Sydney on August 16
with the return match in Auckland the following week.
- Wycliff Palu, Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham, Michael Hooper
(captain), Matt Hodgson, Scott Fardy, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Will
Skelton, Sam Carter, Ben Alexander, Pek Cowan, Sekope Kepu, James
Slipper, Scott Sio, James Hanson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Nathan Charles.
- Israel Folau, Rob Horne, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Adam
Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali'ifano, Matt
Toomua, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Luke Burgess, Nic White, Nick