September 2, 2018 / 2:22 AM / 8 months ago

Rugby-Australia bulk up pack for Springboks, Pumas tests

SYDNEY, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Australia coach Michael Cheika has recalled forwards Rory Arnold, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Caleb Timu to his Rugby Championship squad as he continues to look for more physicality from his pack ahead of tests against South Africa and Argentina.

The Wallabies began their campaign with the now traditional back-to-back losses to the All Blacks and will be desperate for two wins when they host the Springboks in Brisbane and Pumas on the Gold Coast over the next two Saturdays.

Fullback Israel Folau was included but remains a doubt for the South Africa test because of the ankle injury he sustained against New Zealand in the championship opener, while prop Taniela Tupou is still struggling with a hamstring problem.

Hulking lock Arnold had been unable to get back into contention after missing the opening match of the June series against Ireland through a suspension imposed for a high tackle on South Africa’s Elton Jantjies in Super Rugby.

His return offers Cheika the chance to pair him with Adam Coleman in what many in Australia consider to be the best second row combination for the Wallabies.

Number eight Timu, Auckland-born like Paenga-Amosa, brought his considerable heft to the back row for two tests against Ireland in June.

The 24-year-old returns to the squad after an impressive display for Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship opener on Saturday.

With captain Michael Hooper and David Pocock, both openside flankers, all but undroppable, Cheika has been scouring Australia for a big ball-running loose forward who can bring more physicality to the back row and offer a lineout option.

Former bin man Paenga-Amosa is another big unit but fell out of favour after the return from England of the experienced hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, having started his first three tests against the Irish.

Paenga-Amosa is one of four hookers in the squad with Polota-Nau, Tolu Latu and Folau Faingaa, who made his debut off the bench in the second New Zealand test after the Wallabies lineout struggled in the first.


Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Folau Faingaa, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Taniela Tupou

Backs: Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Matt Toomua (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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