Will Skelton will join a Wallabies squad for the first time in five years when Dave Rennie’s group travel to Europe for the final three Tests of the season.
After weeks of speculation about the potential return of Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu, the Herald can reveal the Wallabies will have the three European-based stars at their disposal when they face Scotland at Murrayfield on November 7.
The full spring tour squad is expected to be revealed on Friday, but the trio will be named for the European leg.
They will not be available for the first Test of the tour, against Japan in Oita on October 23, as it falls outside the World Rugby international window.
But the return of Skelton, who was nominated for the European player of the year award in May, is a significant boost for a Wallabies team desperate to fill a void in the second row ahead of testing battles against Scotland, Eddie Jones’ England and Wales.
He will be joined by Arnold and Latu, who were last capped in the Wallabies’ quarter-final loss to England at 2019 World Cup.
Will Skelton is back.Credit:Getty
After years of staying silent on the subject, Skelton spoke to AFP about a Herald report regarding his potential inclusion last week.
“Obviously, not being eligible is tough, not being able to put your hand up to play,” Skelton said.
“If the opportunity does come along I’ll definitely put my hand up. You can see how well they’re playing at the moment, and you miss that environment, the international field.
“You almost ask yourself if you’ve still got it and good enough. You want to test yourself against the best. It would be awesome to link up. If it happens, it happens.”
Sources with knowledge of the situation told the Herald Kurtley Beale, who also played alongside Arnold and Latu at the last World Cup, will not be named in the squad.
Beale may be called upon if the Wallabies suffer injuries at fullback, where they are already missing first-choice option Tom Banks.
The other position with a selection dilemma is inside centre.
The Wallabies are sweating on an update on Samu Kerevi’s availability from medical staff.
At the very least, sources with knowledge of the situation said Kerevi will be available for the clash with England on November 13.
But the Wallabies are hopeful he will be able to return in time for the Test against Scotland, six days earlier.
If that timeline is too tight, Hunter Paisami will likely be named in the squad.
If Kerevi and the medical staff are confident he will be fit for the clash with Scotland, Paisami will stay at home to spend time with his young family.
Elsewhere, sources with knowledge of the situation dismissed talk Noah Lolesio and Harry Wilson have fallen out of favour with Rennie after strong debut seasons.
Wallabies selectors were forced to weigh up whether players would benefit more from a full preseason or very limited game time on tour, and decided Lolesio, Wilson, and a handful of other regulars would appreciate the former.
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