Australia DROP Champions Cup winner Will Skelton for three-Test series against England in a bid to fit the overseas player quota as Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete get the nod
- Will Skelton will not face England during Australia’s three-Test series in July
- Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete will replace the 30-year-old
- Wallabies chief Dave Rennie confirmed that the Japan-based trio are available
- Skelton misses out as Australia are only able to choose three overseas players
England will face an Australia side boosted by the availability of key Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete in their three-Test series next month.
But La Rochelle’s Heineken Champions Cup-winning lock Will Skelton will not be part of Dave Rennie’s Wallaby squad for the July matches.
Eddie Jones ramped up his preparation for a crucial series in the southern hemisphere with an England training camp in London this week.
Will Skelton won his third Champions Cup trophy last month as La Rochelle beat Leinster 24-21
Australia head coach Dave Rennie is limited to three overseas players and thus axed Skelton
His team’s upcoming opponents Australia can only pick three players based outside of their homeland for any series under their eligibility ruling.
Their head coach Rennie has opted for backs Cooper, Kerevi and Koroibete and not Skelton to face England.
‘It’s probably not that secret anyway but we’ve got Quade, Samu and Marika all coming back,’ said Rennie.
Fly-half Quade Cooper has played 75 matches in total for Australia and scored over 200 points
‘Quade and Samu are here in Sydney just getting medical checks and Marika went straight to Fiji to spend some time with his family and he’ll be back on the weekend.’
Powerful wing Koroibete is one of the world’s best backs.
He and centre Kerevi have both impressed in Japan’s domestic league this season with Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights and Suntory Sungoliath respectively.
Maverick fly-half Cooper helped Hanazono Kintetsu Liners to promotion to Japan’s top-flight from the second tier.
Samu Kerevi is now available to play for Australia in their three Tests against England in July
Rennie added: ‘Marika was phenomenal so he hasn’t lost any of his physicality or his work ethic so we’re excited to see him back.
‘Marika is one of the best wingers in the world. I’m not sure there’s another winger with his work ethic and repeatability. He’s just top gear all day so we’re looking forward to getting that back.’
Giant second row Skelton helped La Rochelle to conquer Europe for the first time last month and although he won’t face England, he is in contention to feature for Australia moving forwards.
‘We brought him in last year and he fitted in well. We’re not looking at bringing him in for England series but maybe after that,’ Rennie said.
Upon his return, Rennie described Marika Koroibete as ‘one of the best wingers in the world’
Australia have also been boosted by a positive injury on powerhouse prop Taniela Tupou who is recovering from a calf problem but should be fit for the first Test with England on July 2.
‘He (Tupou) has dropped some size, working really hard,’ Rennie said.
‘He’s in a really good place mentally, really fresh. We were a bit anxious three weeks ago but we’re pretty confident we’ll get him there for the first Test.’