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Bernard Foley returns to Wallabies squad for South Africa Tests after three-year absence

Bernard Foley returns to Wallabies squad for South Africa Tests after three-year absence

  • Australia bolstered by a number of returning players
  • Veteran James O’Connor a surprise omission on 35-man list

Bernard Foley has returned to the Wallabies fold three years after his last Test with the veteran playmaker joining the squad for two Rugby Championships clashes with South Africa.

Coach Dave Rennie has named a 35-strong player squad for Tests in Adelaide and Sydney, but skipper Michael Hooper remains absent following his withdrawal from the Argentina leg due to mental health reasons. Veteran five-eighth James O’Connor is also a surprise omission.

Coming off a horror 47-17 loss to the Pumas in their last Rugby Championship outing, the Wallabies have been bolstered by the return from injury of winger Andrew Kellaway, props Angus Bell, Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa, hookers Dave Porecki and Folau Fainga’a as well as centre Hunter Paisami.

“After a tough two weeks in Argentina we’re extremely pleased to be able to welcome a few men back into the mob,” Rennie said. “To have their experience on deck will be invaluable in what’s going to be a massive challenge coming up against South Africa two weeks in a row.”

Foley last turned out for Australia at the 2019 Rugby World Cup but with a season-ending injury to Quade Cooper and Noah Lolesio and O’Connor failing to nail down the No 10 jumper, Rennie opted to include Foley. The 32-year-old, who has played 71 Tests, has spent the past three years playing in Japan.

Waratahs backrower Langi Gleeson, aged 21, has been named for his first national squad after impressing for Australia A. Queensland outside back Jock Campbell, who was part of the Argentina tour, is the only other uncapped player.

The team will assemble on the Gold Coast on Sunday ahead of their Test against the world champion Springboks at Adelaide Oval on 27 August.

Wallabies: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Angus Bell, Jock Campbell, Pone Fa’amausili, Folau Fainga’a, Lalakai Foketi, Bernard Foley, Nick Frost, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Jed Holloway, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, Rob Leota, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Matt Philip, David Porecki, Pete Samu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.

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