New faces: Sefa Naivalu and Tolu Latu in Wallabies squad for South Africa and Argentina clashes
Forward David Pocock, wing Drew Mitchell and back-rower Ben McCalman all miss out for Australia, who have won two games in a row after a poor start to their Rugby Championship campaign
Winger Sefa Naivalu and hooker Tolu Latu were on Thursday called into Australia’s squad for their Rugby Championship clashes against South Africa and Argentina next month.
Fiji-born Naivalu has been involved in several training camps this year and finally became eligible to represent his adopted country this week after fulfilling the three-year residency requirement.
The impressive recent form of the NSW Waratahs’ Latu allowed him to force his way into the 30-man squad as cover for veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau, who is being rested to overcome a forearm injury.
Experienced wing Drew Mitchell and backrower Ben McCalman have both been left out due to a lack of recent match fitness as they return from injury.
And there is no star forward David Pocock, who broke his hand in Australia’s 36-20 win over Argentina last weekend in Perth and has been ruled out of both matches.
Team officials said Pocock still has a chance to play for the Wallabies in the third Bledisloe test against New Zealand in Auckland on October 22.
“It is disappointing for Tatafu, who has been one of the most consistent and valued members of our finishers off the bench. He needs time to get his body right and we respect that,” coach Michael Cheika said of Polota-Nau.
“With injury comes opportunity, and this is the opportunity now for Tolu to make his step up to international rugby.
“All our newly capped players this season have taken their chances with both hands and I expect Tolu to do the same, which should give all our fans confidence in the future.”
ACT Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa has overcome a knee injury to be named in the squad after he missed the Perth test on Saturday, and there is a recall for Queensland Reds scrum half Nick Frisby.
Frisby hasn’t featured for the Wallabies since the June test series against England where he made his international debut.
Australia, who have won two games in a row after a poor start to their Rugby Championship campaign, face South Africa in Pretoria on October 1 before travelling to London to play Argentina at Twickenham a week later.
Australia squad - Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Quade Cooper, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Nick Frisby, Will Genia, James Hanson, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Sekope Kepu, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Tolu Latu, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, Luke Morahan, Dean Mumm, Sefanaia Naivalu, Nick Phipps, Tom Robertson, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Henry Speight, Lopeti Timani