BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Bernard Foley has been drafted into Australia’s squad for the first time since the 2019 World Cup, recalled at the expense of James O’Connor for two Rugby Championship tests against South Africa.
The 32-year-old Foley, who has been playing in Japan, was added to the 35-player Wallabies squad in the aftermath of a 48-17 away loss to Argentina last weekend.
The return of the 71-test veteran as a potential playmaker follows a season-ending Achilles injury for Quade Cooper, who started in Australia’s 41-26 win over Argentina in the first test, and indifferent form from O’Connor and Noah Lolesio at flyhalf.
“James got a crack in the last test as we saw his experience as very important and wanted him to drive the ship,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said on Thursday. "We wanted him to implement our plan (but) we were pretty clunky to be honest, lacked cohesion, so he’s missed out on selection.”
Regular captain Michael Hooper, who left the squad in Argentina before the first of two tests, is not expected to return for the two tests against the World Cup champion Springboks.
The Wallabies, who will meet South Africa in Adelaide on Aug. 27 and a week later in Sydney, have a handful of players returning from injuries.
“After a tough two weeks in Argentina we’re extremely pleased to be able to welcome a few men back,” 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.”
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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