Test luck fails prop
THE World Cup agony of prop Benn Robinson looks set for another instalment after the 72- Test prop was omitted from the Wallabies’ 40- man squad for the Rugby Championship.
Robinson and fellow Wallabies front- row stalwart Ben Alexander – the two most capped props in Australian Test history – were the biggest casualties in a squad that also carries huge ramifications for World Cup selections.
With the final 31- man World Cup squad to be picked in late August, selection for the Rugby Championship is almost a prerequisite to make the tournament in September and October in the UK.
James O’Connor, Nick Cummins, Matt Hodgson and Luke Jones were also absent from a squad that saw coach Michael Cheika turn away drastically from many of the regular faces in Wallaby gold in recent seasons.
The first Test of the season is against South Africa on July 18 in Brisbane. The Wallabies will assemble on Sunday for a week- long training camp on the Sunshine Coast.
“There’s three sets of props, three sets of locks and we’re going to go hard at it in the set piece when we’re up there,” Cheika said.
“We’re going to see who comes out the best and that competition will get us in the right frame of mind for what we’re going to come up against ( versus) South Africa, which is going to be a big, nasty pack.”
Four uncapped newcomers – Rory Arnold, Samu Kerevi, Taqele Naiyavaroro and Rebels prop Toby Smith – led the charge.
There are old faces included, with Dean Mumm recalled after just a few weeks back in Australia and Greg Holmes picked after playing his last Test in 2007.
As expected, Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau were also included after returning from France.
They spoiled the announcement somewhat yesterday, by tweeting a photo of themselves enjoying a glass of champagne together on the flight over.
“Obviously, we’re pretty excited,” Mitchell said.
“I probably gave it away a little bit, but I’ve read a fair bit ... and I guess there was probably a fair indication in the media anyway.”
The front row shake- up – with Smith, Scott Sio, Tetera Faulkner, Sekope Kepu and Holmes named – could see Robinson miss out on his third World Cup. Cut late in 2007, Robinson then injured a knee before the 2011 Cup.
CHAMPAGNE JOY: Drew Mitchell and Taqele Naiyaravoro celebrate Wallabies selection at ANZ Stadium yesterday.