SYDNEY – Inside back Karmichael Hunt was recalled to the Wallabies squad Saturday to face the All Blacks after a lengthy layoff for ankle surgery.
One of the stars of Australia’s home Tests in June, Hunt has been out of action for eight weeks and will likely be on the bench for next weekend’s clash with New Zealand in Brisbane.
Back-rower Adam Korczyk has forced his way into contention, while Rory Arnold, Lopeti Timani and Izaia Perese are also back in the frame.
“We’ll see how Hunt goes at training, how he plays this weekend in the National Rugby Championship,” said coach Michael Cheika.
“In the last camp in June, he pretty much forced his way into the team. He’s probably got a bit more competition now, as we’ve built the squad over the Rugby Championship.”
With veteran Stephen Moore due to retire this year, Cheika also selected rookie trio Folau Fainga’a, Jermaine Ainsley and Duncan Paia’aua to join the lead-up camp so he can have a closer look at them.
“With Stephen retiring at the end of the year, we’re looking at a couple of younger hookers,” he said.
Australia last played New Zealand in Brisbane in 2014, when they suffered a heart-breaking defeat after a try with the last play of the game.
The Wallabies have so far failed in their quest to beat the All Blacks this year after two defeats in Sydney and Dunedin respectively in August.
Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Tetera Faulkner, Folau Faingaa, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Adam Korczyk, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Lopeti Timani, Lukhan Tui, Jordan Uelese.
Backs: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Reece Hodge, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Billy Meakes, Duncan Paia’aua, Izaia Perese, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Henry Speight.