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Wallabies get Japan trio for England Tests

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has confirmed Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete will be his international selections for next month’s home Test series against England.

Rennie will name his full 35-player squad on Sunday ahead of the first Test in Perth on July 2.

But he has reached out to the Japan-based trio under the re-worked Giteau Law which allows him three overseas-based players for any series.

“It’s probably not that secret anyway but we’ve got Quade, Samu and Marika all coming back,” Rennie said at the announcement that the Wallabies will face South Africa on September 3 at the redeveloped Sydney Football Stadium.

“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.”

Winger Koroibete turned in a dominant display and scored a try as his Japanese club side side Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights won the League One title last week.

Centre Kerevi was a stand-out for Suntory Sungoliath, who lost in the final.

“Marika was phenomenal so he hasn’t lost any of his physicality or his work ethic so we’re excited to see him back,” Rennie said.

“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.

“Samu only played a couple of Tests but was nominated for (World Rugby) Player of the Year (in 2021) which only highlights the impact he had.”

Five eighth Cooper helped his team Hanazono Kintetsu Liners earn promotion to the top division while Rennie was impressed with the way he mentored young playmaker Noah Lolesio during last year’s Rugby Championship.

“You look at Quade, he had a massive impact and a really calming influence, he was so impressive with the group,” he said

“I thought he was great with Noah (Lolesio) and even when Noah was playing and Quade wasn’t, he’d sit down at the computer with him and talk through a lot of things and his contribution to meetings was great.”

Rennie said he could look beyond at other overseas-based players outside that trio following the England series, with Test matches looming against Argentina, the All Blacks and Springboks in the Rugby Championship.

That included giant La Rochelle lock Will Skelton, who was called up for last year’s Spring tour.

“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,” he said.

Meanwhile, first-choice prop Taniela Tupou is tracking well to play against England following a serious calf injury.

“He (Tupou) has dropped some size, working really hard. He’s in a really good place mentally, really fresh,” Rennie said.

“We were a bit anxious three weeks ago but we’re pretty confident we’ll get him there for the first Test.”

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