Rugby

McCalman named in Wallabies tour squad

2017-10-29 11:37
Ben McCalman (AP)

Sydney - Experienced Ben McCalman was a notable inclusion in a 32-man Wallabies' squad named Sunday for next month's northern hemisphere tour following the unavailability of flanker Jack Dempsey.

The Western Force No 8 reclaimed his place in the Wallabies set-up despite playing only twice this year because of a shoulder injury.

Coach Michael Cheika had to wait for a number of scans of injured players from Saturday's match against the Barbarians before confirming his touring squad for Tests next month against Japan, Wales, England and Scotland.

The 49-Test McCalman grabbed his chance with his impressive 55-minute cameo in the Wallabies 31-28 win over the Barbarians, to ensure his place on the flight to Japan.

Forwards Dempsey (hamstring), Jermaine Ainsley (ankle) and Rory Arnold (knee) were ruled out opening the door for uncapped pair Matt Philip and Blake Enever following their impressive form in the National Rugby Championship.

Neither fly-half who played in the Wallabies-Barbarians match, Duncan Paia'aua or Quade Cooper was chosen, with Cheika comfortable with having Kurtley Beale and Reece Hodge as back-ups for Bernard Foley.

There was also no place for 2015 World Cup final lock Kane Douglas or the ACT Brumbies captain Sam Carter.

The squad, captained by flanker Michael Hooper, contains six uncapped players including two extra development players, Jack Maddocks and Liam Wright.

"Lukhan (Tui) won't be available for the first two games of the tour because of his hamstring, but we feel he will be ready for games three and four so it's worth bringing him," Cheika said.

"I wanted to give the opportunity to two new younger guys (at lock) who have had good Super Rugby seasons, and I think Matt Philip has improved out of sight.

"Rory (Arnold) has a tear in his muscle and it's come away from the quad so he will have an operation to fix that and he will be out for about four to five weeks.

"Jack Dempsey has torn two tendons in his hamstring so he will have an operation to re-attach those and it's a three to four month return so he will be back next year for Super Rugby."

Cheika said he will be looking to pick his best side for every Test on the tour.

"These are important matches and we want to be build a consistent, winning mindset and that's something we want to pass onto next year's team," he said.

The Wallabies, who are buoyed ahead of the tour following their 23-18 upset of the All Blacks a week ago, will leave for Yokohama on Tuesday ahead of their first-ever Test match in Japan.

They will travel on to the United Kingdom where they will face Wales (November 11), England (Nov 18) and Scotland (Nov 25).

Read more on:    wallabies  |  ben mccalman  |  rugby
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