July 17, 2019 / 1:01 PM / a month ago

Rugby-Australia call on uncapped prop as injuries bite ahead of Bok duel

JOHANNESBURG, July 17 (Reuters) - Australia have called uncapped New South Wales Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes into their squad ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener against South Africa at Ellis Park, but six players have been released by coach Michael Cheika.

Props Scott Sio (adductor) and Tom Robertson (ankle), as well as flyhalf Christian Lealiifano (shoulder), have all been ruled out with injury and will return to Australia to continue their rehabilitation.

The absence of Lealiifano settles the debate over who will wear the number 10 jersey with Bernard Foley now in pole position.

Lealiifano had been hoping to play his first test since 2016 after overcoming leukaemia.

Wing Marika Koroibete has also returned home after the birth of his second child, while wing Jack Maddocks and loose-forward Rob Valetini have been released back to their clubs.

Johnson-Holmes, 22, will make a dash to South Africa to act as front-row cover.

Australia are seeking a first away victory over the Springboks since 2011, before they return home for a meeting with Argentina in Brisbane on July 27. (Reporting By Nick Said Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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