Australia side looking to gain momentum under coach Ewan McKenzie.
Tatafu Polota-Nau and Nick Cummins return from injury in the 32-man Wallabies’ squad named on Friday for the five-Test tour of the British Isles and Italy next month.
It comprises 26 of the 28 players who toured South Africa and Argentina in the Rugby Championship, with front-rower Albert Anae and winger Peter Betham omitted following the return of NSW Waratahs hooker Polota-Nau (hamstring) and Western Force outside back Cummins (hand).
The squad will also form the basis of the Wallabies’ team for next week’s final Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin in New Zealand.
Backrower Scott Fardy will miss the All Blacks Test with an eye injury he sustained in Australia’s 54-17 win over Argentina in Rosario last weekend before returning for the European tour in November.
Coach Ewen McKenzie has also added tighthead prop Paddy Ryan, openside flanker Liam Gill, scrumhalf Nick Phipps and goal-kicking centre Mike Harris to his touring squad.
“We recognise we are going over to play some very experienced and talented teams in the UK following our Test against the All Blacks,” McKenzie said.
“As a result, we’ve selected a group that contains a strong mix of veterans but also 10 players, almost one-third of the squad, who have only made their Test debuts this season.
“The reality is that the players who started their Test careers this year are only just beginning to accrue experience, so the challenges associated with a Spring (November) tour will be massive for them in terms of their overall development.”
McKenzie said he expected the experience of 44-Test capped Polota-Nau to benefit the squad throughout the tour.
“Tatafu hasn’t had much of an opportunity due to injury over the past six months but we’re picking him on reputation. He is also an experienced scrummager, which will be valuable in the UK,” he said.
McKenzie had a number of prominent players unavailable for selection through injury, including Kurtley Beale (shoulder), Scott Higginbotham (shoulder), Pat McCabe (neck), Hugh McMeniman (shoulder), Wycliff Palu (knee) and former skipper David Pocock (knee).
Utility back James O’Connor was not considered after he was released from his Wallabies contract earlier this month following a series of off-field incidents.
The squad will be trimmed to a playing group of 24 to travel to New Zealand next Wednesday ahead of the Wallabies third Test of the year against the All Blacks.
“The decision to choose 32 players now just made sense. We’ve only got a week’s lead-in once we fly to England, so anything we can do now to expedite the training process is important,” McKenzie said.
The Wallabies leave for the United Kingdom on October 25 for their Grand Slam Tour and Tests against England, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Backs – Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Nick Cummins, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Joe Tomane, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Mike Harris, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Quade Cooper, Matt Toomua, Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Nic White
Forwards – Dave Dennis, Scott Fardy, Liam Gill, Michael Hooper, Ben McCalman, Ben Mowen, Kane Douglas, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, Sitaleki Timani, Ben Alexander, Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau.