Wycliff Palu and Matt Giteau were Friday recalled to the Wallabies 31-man squad for next week’s Rugby Championship decider against the All Blacks, with uncapped prop Toby Smith also drafted in.
Australia and New Zealand are level on nine points ahead of the August 8 Test in Sydney — effectively a final — and coach Michael Cheika has brought back two of his experienced big guns.
Veteran Giteau returns after being rested from Australia’s bonus-point 34-9 victory over Argentina last weekend having taken a physical battering against the Springboks in Brisbane earlier this month.
Powerhouse No.8 Palu was rested from both the opening two Test victories to overcome injury niggles but has been deemed fit to face the All Blacks.
A surprise was the call-up of 26-year-old Smith following a consistent Super Rugby campaign for the Melbourne Rebels.
“Toby has had a solid season with the Rebels, and has been working really hard while the group has been away,” said Cheika.
“Our intention was always to rest Wycliff prior to this camp, and he has come back in great shape and really eager to play.”
Cheika added that the squad was starting to come together ahead of the September-October World Cup in England.
“We have been able to look at a few different combinations during the first two rounds of the Rugby Championship and the squad is starting to take shape,” he said.
“In addition to the 31 players, we’ll be bringing some injured and fringe players into camp to continue their rehabilitation and manage their return to play. It’s important that they remain connected and contribute to the group.”
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper, Scott Fardy, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Matt Giteau, Greg Holmes, Michael Hooper, James Horwill, Sekope Kepu, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Stephen Moore (captain), Drew Mitchell, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, James Slipper, Toby Smith, Henry Speight, Matt Toomua, Joe Tomane, Nic White.
– Agence France-Presse