Home Sports first Test lineups predicted and squads for Dave Rennie and Eddie Jones’ teams

first Test lineups predicted and squads for Dave Rennie and Eddie Jones’ teams


Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is expected to name his squad on Sunday to take on England in next month’s three-Test series, with a preliminary list of around 34-36 players to be taken into camp.

Eddie Jones on Monday named a 35-player squad to undergo a three-day camp, without players still involved in England’s Premiership finals.

The big questions for Rennie surround the make up of his three allowed overseas players – with Japan-based Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete considered the likely trio.

Rennie is allowed to change the three players for each series, so conceivably can pick a new three for The Rugby Championship, and again for the Spring Tour – which is when European-based forwards Rory Arnold and Will Skelton are likely to come into the frame.

The addition of an Australian A team in the Pacific Nations Cup will also feed into Rennie’s Test selections as he decides who will benefit from being a starter against Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. Those games are on the same dates as the Wallabies vs. England Tests.

On Saturday, Rennie said his toughest selection call when having to nail down a match day 23 would be at halfback, with Nic White, Tate McDermott, Jake Gordon all in good form during the Super Rugby season.

He also has a choice to make at fullback, which could be the most contentious call he makes as far as Wallabies fans are concerned.

Not everyone is convinced by Tom Banks at Test level, and his decision to leave the Brumbies at the end of this season has opened the door for a challenger.

“If we feel that there’s not much between say Tom and someone else then we could potentially pick the other guy knowing that Tom’s heading away,” Rennie said, which was hardly a ringing endorsement for Banks

“He’s had a great season so far. If he plays really well for us this year and goes to Japan and looks after himself, who knows, there could be an opportunity for him to go to a World Cup.”

Rennie has already named one squad this season – a 40-player group that gathered in Queensland.

Eight uncapped players were named in that group, but none of the overseas players were involved.

The initial squad

Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell, Jock Campbell*, Ben Donaldson* , Folau Fainga’a, Lalakai Foketi, Nick Frost*, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper (captain), Jed Holloway*, Len Ikitau, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Feleti Kaitu’u, Andrew Kellaway, Rob Leota, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Ryan Lonergan*, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Cadeyrn Neville*, James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Jordan Petaia, Matt Philip, David Porecki*, Toni Pulu*, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachlan Swinton, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.

Australia's James O'Connor in action during the Autumn Nations Series match between Scotland and Australia at BT Murrayfield, on Novermber 07, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images)

(Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Leading candidates and selection headaches

The back three

Kurtley Beale played at fullback on last year’s European tour but has been sidelined with injury in recent weeks. Andrew Kellaway had an impressive breakthrough season in 2021 and spent some time at fullback, as did Reece Hodge.

Jordan Petaia and Jock Campbell have both had stints at No.15 and on the wing for the Reds, while their teammate Suli Vunivalu has yet to live up to expectations since his switch from the NRL. It would be a surprise if he misses out, however.

Another Reds winger, Filipo Daugunu was in the first Test squad a year ago but has failed to press his claims this season and looks like missing out alongside Toni Pulu and, harshly, Campbell.

Koroibete should be a nailed on starter, and Tom Wright might find himself pushed out if Rennie goes with six players instead of seven.

This squad might have come too early for Sevens convert Dylan Pietsch but he’s a potential bolter later in the winter.

Prediction: Tom Banks, Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, Jordan Petaia, Suliasi Vunivalu, Tom Wright.

Tom Banks of the Wallabies

Tom Banks taking on New Zealand in Bledisloe 1 (Yeung/Getty Images)

The centres

Kerevi should be second name on the team sheet after captain Michael Hooper and one from each of the Brumbies, Reds and Tahs in Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami and Izzy Perese look to join him in the squad. Lalakai Foketi seems more likely to be in the A squad for the Pacific Nations Cup.

Prediction: Samu Kerevi, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese.

The play makers

James O’Connor looked to have the No.10 jersey locked in for the England series before suffering the latest in a long line of injury problems that kept him out of the end of the Reds’ Super Rugby campaign.

That has given Quade Cooper, who has looked fit and raring to go in recent social media posts, the inside line to reprise the impressive job he did against the Springboks last season.

Tahs’ Tane Edmed, who wasn’t in the initial 40, has come from the clouds to give himself a shot of being involved, but a third spot is likely to go to Noah Lolesio, who was given plenty of minutes last winter then left off the Spring Tour.

Prediction: Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, Noah Lolesio.

The No.9s

Rennie called this the toughest decision facing him when it comes to finding two for the matchday squads, although for now the top three are straightforward. Nic White has done enough this season to establish himself as the main main, leaving Tate McDermott and Jake Gordon to contest a place on the bench for the England Tests.

Prediction: Nic White, Tae McDermott, Jake Gordon.

The loose forwards

Rennie will be hoping Rob Valetini comes through the Super Rugby Pacific semi against Auckland Blues unscathed as he will be an integral part of the England series. Michael Hooper is first picked at No.7, and while Fraser McReight should be there to understudy you would expect he will need to wait later in the winter for any significant minutes.

Rob Leota has been in strong form for the Rebels since returning from injury and is a likely starter at No.6, while Pete Samu should reprise his backrow finisher role. Harry Wilson has also done enough to be included.

Lachlan Swinton played in the opening game of the season before nerve damage in his shoulder prevented him from playing another minute, and his frustrations continue.

Prediction: Michael Hooper, Rob Leota, , Fraser McReight, Pete Samu, Rob Valetini, Harry Wilson.

The locks

Izack Rodda’s positive diagnosis on a foot injury means he’s likely to get at starting berth alongside Darcy Swain with perhaps three other locks given a place in the extend squad. Jed Holloway has impressed on his return to the Waratahs, and even turned Darren Coleman into a believer, while Nick Frost will be expecting some tangible reward for backing out of a contract in Japan to stay loyal.

Matt Philip and Caydern Neville are also in the frame with Skelton and Arnold held in reserve for now.

Prediction: Jed Holloway, Caydern Neville, Matt Philip, Izack Rodda, Darcy Swain.

The hookers

Waratah Dave Porecki is shaping as the front runner for a debut, but Folau Fainga’a – who is one of four big guns leaving the Brumbies in the next fortnight – is also a good chance, athough his tackle technique could be a concern to the coach. Billy Pollard and Alex Mafi are outsiders, but if Rennie opts for a third hooker Lachie Lonergan could come into contention.

Prediction: Dave Porecki, Folau Fainga’a, Lachie Lonergan.

The props

Taniela Tupou missed the end of the season with a calf injury but hopes to be back in time to meet England. He was used in tandem with Allan Alaalatoa last year, with the Brumbies captain often given the starting nod. James Slipper’s versatility and experience gets him the nod while Angus Bell is getting better with every game. There’s a door open for another selection, with Scott Sio, Pone Fa’amausili and Harry Johnson-Holmes all in the reckoning .

Predicted first Test line up

Wallabies (1-15): James Slipper, Dave Porecki, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Izack Rodda, Rob Leota, Michael Hooper (c), Rob Valetini, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Tom Banks.

RESERVES: Folau Fainga’a, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Jed Holloway, Pete Samu, Jake Gordon, James O’Connor, Reece Hodge.

England, meanwhile, named a 35-player England squad for a three-day training camp starting on Tuesday.

Players who are involved in this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership semi-finals are not available for selection.

Jonny May returns to the squad after recovering from a knee injury.  There are first involvements in a senior England camp for Biyi Alo, Charlie Atkinson, Freddie Clarke, Sam Jeffries and Patrick Schickerling.

Jones said: “With a number of players unavailable because of the Premiership semi-finals, we’ve got the opportunity to call up some new players.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn about them and see what potential they have to play a part in the Australia tour.

“We look forward to continuing the good work from our last camp in developing this team on and off the pitch.”

England training squad

Biyi Alo (Wasps, uncapped)
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps, uncapped)
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 6 caps)
Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Freddie Clarke (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 40 caps)
Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 30 caps)
Will Goodrick-Clarke (London Irish, uncapped)
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 2 caps)
Sam Jeffries (Bristol Bears, uncapped)
George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Patrick Schickerling (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
Jack Singleton (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 20 caps)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 28 caps)
Jack Willis (Wasps, 3 caps) 

Henry Arundell (London Irish, uncapped)
Charlie Atkinson (Wasps, uncapped)
Mark Atkinson (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Orlando Bailey (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 11 caps)
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, uncapped)
Will Joseph (London Irish, uncapped)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 69 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 39 caps)
Paolo Odogwu (Wasps, uncapped)
Max Ojomoh (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Tom Parton (London Irish, uncapped)
Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 6 caps)
Dan Robson (Wasps, 14 caps)


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