Latest posts by Graham Thomas (see all)
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- Wales Move To No.2 Team In The World As Joe Schmidt Marvels At Warren Gatland’s Record - 17th March 2019
- Sam Warburton Says Only The All Blacks Should Worry Wales. . . And That Might Not Happen Until World Cup Final - 17th March 2019
Wales look as if they will be facing one Wallaby they thought they had seen off when they meet Australia on November 10.
Adam Ashley-Cooper has been recalled to coach Michael Cheika’s squad two years after he won the last of his 116 Test caps.
Ashley-Cooper has played against Wales 13 times in a variety of positions across the back line and never lost, although he did miss their last defeat to Wales back in 2008.
Wales have lost 13 games in succession against Australia since then, although the tourists once again look vulnerable as they prepare for their four-match European tour.
Ashley-Cooper, 34, made his most recent appearance for the Wallabies in a 29-9 defeat by the All Blacks in August 2016 when he went off early with a suspected concussion.
Injuries to Reece Hodge (ankle) and Tevita Kuridrani (pectoral) have led Cheika to turn to Ashley-Cooper, who plays his club rugby in Japan alongside All Blacks legend Dan Carter at the Kobe Steelers.
“Adam will train with us, we’ll see where he’s at,” Cheika said after the weekend’s bruising 37-20 Bledisloe Cup loss to New Zealand in Yokohama.
“He’s come on the tour with us to be available for selection, he’s not coming for a holiday.
“His experience is important and also just his versatility, his ability to cover a few positions,” added the under-fire Wallabies coach, who also called up 18-year-old rookie sensation Jordan Petaia.
“With (Ashley-Cooper) and then a guy like Jordan, it’s probably a good balance. We need a couple of extra backs here on the trip.”
Ashley-Cooper would join George Gregan as the only Australian to play in four Rugby World Cups if he is selected for next year’s tournament in Japan.
The struggling Wallabies Tests against Wales, Italy and England after the All Blacks condemned them to a ninth defeat in their last 12 Tests.
Despite their form, Cheika put a positive spin on the shape of his squad as they prepare to face Wales, insisting full-back Petaia can bring some energy to the two-time World Cup winners.
“Jordan has just got a lot of good touches,” he said. “He’s a good lad, he wants to succeed, he wants to do the work, he’s eager.
“Having him here with us these next few weeks will give him an idea of what’s required at the level and give him a chance to make a play for the World Cup squad.”
Petaia, who would be the third youngest player to make his debut for the Wallabies, if he appears during the tour, is joined by hulking, young back-rower Rob Valetini, 20, who joins the squad as a development player.
Matt Toomua will also join the squad in Odawara for a week-long training camp at the base the Wallabies will use ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Folau Fainga’a, Ned Hanigan, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Pete Samu, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Jake Gordon, Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Sefa Naivalu, Jordan Petaia, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua
Development player: Rob Valetini
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