Jump to main content
Christian Leali’ifano

Christian Leali’ifano in action against Wales in 2013

Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship

Wales’ World Cup rivals Australia have included two very familiar faces in their squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship as the countdown to Japan gets ever closer.

Share this page:

While there is no place for Quade Cooper and James O’Connor behind the scrum, the Wallabies have recalled the former Ulster outside half Christian Leali’ifano and Exeter Chiefs scrum half Nic White. Lealiifano last played for his country in 2016, while White’s last appearance was a year earlier.

Both men were in the side that beat Wales 30-26 in Cardiff in 2013 in a game that saw Leali’ifano score 20 points. The current Brumbies skipper, who were beaten in the semi-finals of the Super Rugby competition last weekend is an inspirational figure in the game.

DFP – Leaderboard

Diagnosed with leukemia in 2016, he was sidelined for 12 months as he battled his illness before returning to the game. He initially complained of tiredness, which was put down to the sleeping habits of his young son, Jeremih, and went for some blood tests.

The next thing he knew he was in hospital and undergoing chemotherapy treatment. He later received a bone marrow transplant from one of his sisters.

White has spent the past four years in Europe, playing at Montpellier and Exeter. He won the European Challenge Cup with the French club and the English Premiership title with the Chiefs.

Michael Cheika’s 34-man squad will play three matches in the Rugby Championship as they build towards the World Cup. They kick-off with the Springboks in Johannesburg on 20 July before hosting Argentina in Brisbane and then the All Blacks in Perth.

Veteran prop James Slipper joins Leali’ifano and White in earning a recall, while three uncapped back row men, No8 Isi Naisarani and flanker Liam Wright and Rob Valetini, are also included.

There is no place for the inured David Pocock, who is still struggling with a calf problem, but Cheika is not ruling him out of his World Cup plans just yet. Also fighting to be fit in time for Japan is Leicester Tigers hooker Tatafu Poloata-Nau, who is five weeks into an eight week recovery period after undergoing ankle surgery.

“It’s been a bit of a battle for David, but it looks like he’s turned a bit of a corner, so I’m quite positive about having him back at some stage during the Rugby Championship.  But as opposed to putting a day on it, we’ll just wait until the next milestone and go from there,” said Cheika.

Second row star Adam Coleman is another player fighting to return to full fitness. He is also expected to be included in the Rugby Championship squad in the later stages.

AUSTRALIAN SQUAD

BACKS
Full Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Jack Maddocks (Melbourne Rebels)

Wings: Tom Banks (Brumbies), Dane Haylett-Petty (Melbourne Rebels), Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Rebels)
Centres: Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Reece Hodge (Melbourne Rebels), Samu Kerevi (Queensland Reds), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)
Outside Halves: Bernard Foley (Waratahs), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Melbourne Rebels)
Scrum Halves: Will Genia (Melbourne Rebels), Joe Powell (Brumbies), Nic White (Exeter Chiefs)

FORWARDS
Props: Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Tom Robertson (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), James Slipper (Brumbies), Taniela Tupou (Queensland Reds)
Hookers: Folau Fainga’a (Brumbies), Tolu Latu (Waratahs), Jordan Uelese (Melbourne Rebels)
Locks: Rory Arnold (Brumbies), Luke Jones (Melbourne Rebels), Izack Rodda (Queensland Reds), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Queensland Reds), Rob Simmons (Waratahs)
Back Row: Jack Dempsey (Waratahs), Michael Hooper (Waratahs, captain), Isi Naisarani (Melbourne Rebels), Rob Valetini (Brumbies), Liam Wright (Queensland Reds)

Meanwhile, Fijian head coach John McKee has named a 42 strong squad to prepare for the Pacific Test Series incorporating the Maori All Blacks and the Pacific Nations Cup. After that he will pick his World Cup squad.

The players, who include the former Ospreys centre Josh Matavesi and a host of Top 14 players, went into camp in Suva this week. They face the Maoris on home soil on 13 July and then play the return game in Rotorua a week later. Brive utility forward Dominiko Waqaniburotu is set to continue as captain.

“Being named in this squad is no guarantee of going to the World Cup. There is a lot of competition and work to be done across all our camps, the Maori All Blacks test matches and the Pacific Nations Cup,” said McKee.

FIJIAN SQUAD

BACKS
Full Backs: Kini Murimurivalu (La Rochelle), Setareki Tuicuvu (Clermont)
Wings: Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons), Filipo Nakosi (Toulon), Waisea Nayacelevu (Stade Francais), Patrick Osbourne (Kubota Spears), Eroni Sau (Edinburgh), Joshua Tuisova (Toulon)
Utility Back: Josh Matavesi (Newcastle Falcons),
Centres: Levani Botia (La Rochelle), Sevanaia Galala (Brive), Semi Radradra (Bordeaux-Begles), Jale Vatubua (Pau)
Outside Halves: Alivereti Veitokani (London Irish), Ben Volavola (Racing 92)
Scrum Halves: Frank Lomani (Fijian Latui), Nikola Matawalu (Glasgow Warriors), Henri Senioli (Doncaster Knights), Seru Vularika (Fijian Latui)

FORWARDS
Props: Leeroy Atalifo (Jersey), Campese Ma’afu (Leicester Tigers), Eroni Mawi (Fijian Drua), Peni Ravai (Bordeaux-Begles), Manasa Saulo (London Irish), Luke Tagi (Fijian Latui), Kalivati Tawake (Waratahs), Joeli Veitayaki (Fijian Drua)
Hookers: Mesulame Dolokoto (Fijian Latui), Sam Matavesi (Cornish Pirates), Tuvere Vugakoto (Fijian Latui)
Locks: Tevita Cavubati (Newcastle Falcons), Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92), Api Ratuniyarawa (Northampton Saints), Tevita Ratuva (Bordeaux-Begles), Albert Tuisue (London Irish)
Back Row: Johnny Dyer (Fijian Drua), Semi Kunatani (Harlequins), Viliame Mata (Edinburgh), Nemani Nagusa (Newcastle Falcons), Mosese Voka (Fijian Latui), Dominiko Waqaniburotu (Brive, captain), Peceli Yato (Clermont)

Partners and Suppliers

Principal Partners
Isuzu
Principality
Under Armour
Admiral
Official Broadcast Partners
BBC Sport
S4C
BBC Cymru/Wales
Official Partners
Guinness
Heineken
Brains
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
SP Energy Networks
Official Suppliers
PAS Pro Iso
Gullivers Sports Travel
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Gilbert
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Rhino Rugby
Sportseen
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship
Wallabies recall familiar faces for Rugby Championship