Rugby-Beale in line for recall as withdrawals hamper Wallabies

  • Rugby
  • Tuesday, 26 Oct 2021

(Reuters) -Kurtley Beale is in line for a call up to the Australia squad for their European tour following the withdrawal of Japan-based duo Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon and an injury to Reece Hodge.

Coach Dave Rennie confirmed on Tuesday he had spoken to the 32-year-old France-based back about returning to the squad for the first time since the Wallabies lost to England in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Japan in 2019.

"We've had conversations with Kurtley over a period time and he's made it really clear his desire to be a Wallaby again and with the introduction of some of the guys he's played with previously he's pretty excited by that," said Rennie.

"We had a conversation yesterday around that."

A return for Beale, who has played for Racing 92 since last year, would see the Australians call up another overseas-based player after Rennie selected exiles Kerevi, McMahon and Quade Cooper for the recently completed Rugby Championship.

Kerevi and McMahon pulled out of the tour on Monday to remain in Japan with club side Suntory Sungoliath while Hodge will not play any part in the tour after sustaining a pectoral injury during Saturday's win over Japan in Oita.

With Rennie reluctant to call up replacements from Australia, the New Zealander conceded he will likely draft in other Europe-based Australians to bolster his squad for the matches against Scotland, England and Wales.

"We're a little bit thin, especially with (Hodge) looking like he's going to be out long term," said Rennie.

"We'll certainly need to look for replacements.

"(Hodge) is certainly not going to be right in the near future so we'll have a look at the severity and then the recovery time."

The withdrawal of Kerevi and McMahon prompted an angry response from Rugby Australia (RA) chief executive Andy Marinos, who called the move "hugely disappointing".

Rennie also revealed RA would discuss Cooper's availability for the tour on Wednesday and sympathised with the position the players have found themselves in.

"We were disappointed obviously," he said. "Samu in particular played five tests prior to missing the game against Japan and has been excellent on and off the field.

"I know these boys have loved their time in the environment, but they've made a decision based on what their club needs.

"It wasn't an easy decision for these guys but this is what they've decided to do."

Australia will play Scotland at Murrayfield on Nov. 7 before taking on England at Twickenham six days later. They complete their tour in Cardiff against Wales on Nov. 20.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge)

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