* Veteran Ashley-Cooper seeking to play fourth World Cup
* Uncapped teenager Petaia also named in squad
* Young loose forward Valetini named as development player (Adds details, quotes)
TOKYO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Veteran utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper has been recalled to the Australia squad for the first time since 2016 for the team’s tour of Europe where they will play tests against Wales, Italy and England.
Ashley-Cooper joined French club Bordeaux after the 2015 Rugby World Cup and played twice more for the Wallabies in 2016 under the Giteau rule, which allows players to be selected from overseas if they have played more than 60 tests.
The 34-year-old, who is expected to rejoin the New South Wales Waratahs next season, has 116 caps and is seeking to become just the second Australian player to appear at four Rugby World Cups at next year’s event in Japan.
“Adam will train with us, we’ll see where he’s at,” coach Michael Cheika said of the player who is currently playing in Japan. “He’s come on the tour with us to be available for selection, he’s not coming for a holiday.
“His experience is important and also just his versatility, his ability to cover a few positions.”
George Gregan is the only Australian who has played at four World Cups.
Uncapped Jordan Petaia has also been called into the squad after Reece Hodge injured his ankle last week while training in Japan for their third Bledisloe Cup test against the All Blacks, who won the game 37-20.
Cheika said the 18-year-old Petaia had earned his callup after some superb performances for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby and during Australia’s third-tier National Rugby Championship.
“Jordan has just got a lot of good touches,” Cheika added. “He’s a good lad, he wants to succeed, he wants to do the work, he’s eager.
“Having him here with us on these next few weeks will give him an idea of what’s required at the level and give him a chance to make a play for the World Cup squad.”
Uncapped ACT Brumbies loose forward Rob Valetini has been named as a development player.
The squad, which is training in Japan, will be reviewed again before the side heads to Britain on Saturday.
Forwards - Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Folau Faingaa, Ned Hanigan, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Pete Samu, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou
Backs - Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Jake Gordon*, Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Sefa Naivalu, Jordan Petaia*, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua
Development player - Rob Valetini*
* uncapped player (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)