Quade Cooper has returned to the Wallabies side for next week’s Bledisloe against New Zealand in Brisbane and is likely to come on as a reserve.
Quade Cooper is set to make his return to Test rugby from the bench after being named in the Wallabies’ 32-man squad for next week’s third Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium.
Cooper suffered a serious shoulder injury back in May but has shown good form in the NRC tournament for Brisbane City.
The talented five-eighth is set to be named as a reserve with Bernard Foley to start, however Cooper’s return for the clash at Suncorp Stadium on October 18 is timely given the suspension of Kurtley Beale and injuries to several other inside backs.
Following back-to-back losses to South Africa and Argentina to sink their Rugby Championship campaign, coach Ewen McKenzie may be looking at the dead-rubber against the All Blacks as a last chance for some of his underperforming stars.
McKenzie virtually ruled out the prospect of Cooper starting, but said he was happy with his progress.
“Quade’s played a handful of games now and he played well on the weekend,” he said.
“We haven’t looked at him in our environment. (Starting) might be a stretch, I don’t know. I’ll form an opinion when I see him and see how he looks.
“He hasn’t been in the environment for the last nine months, 10 months.”
ACT Brumbies flyer Henry Speight has also been included in the squad, but won’t be considered for selection as he finishes his recovery from a hamstring problem.
Speight will use the week in Brisbane to familiarise himself with the Wallabies environment ahead of the Spring Tour.
The Fijian-born flyer is one of four uncapped members in the squad, alongside Western Force tighthead prop Tetera Faulkner and centre Kyle Godwin, and Melbourne Rebels winger Tom English.
In a further change, Rebels backrower Luke Jones has also received a call-up, after previously earning his international debut for Australia in the second Test against France in June.
Brumbies centre Matt Toomua drops out of the squad through injury after receiving a head knock in Australia’s most recent clash against Argentina in Mendoza, while flyhalf Beale will not been considered until a Code of Conduct Hearing is finalised.
McKenzie will finalise his 23-man matchday squad next Tuesday. Wallabies squad:
Ben Alexander, Tetera Faulkner, Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, James Hanson, Josh Mann-Rea, Sam Carter, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Scott Fardy, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Michael Hooper (capt), Luke Jones, Jake Schatz, Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, Kyle Godwin, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom English, Israel Folau, Rob Horne, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane.