2022-07-20 20:05:00

For years many have wondered how Jock Campbell might fare on the international stage.

All it would take is for a daring coach to take a punt on someone with no remarkable physical prowess but rather an ability to make the difficult look easy.

Well the wait is almost over, with Dave Rennie expected to select the Queensland Reds fullback in his 36-man squad for The Rugby Championship on Thursday.

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The 27-year-old is set to be joined in the squad by towering lock Rory Arnold, who will help stiffen up the pack ahead of the Wallabies’ difficult two Tests in Argentina against Michael Cheika’s Pumas.

Jock Campbell of the Reds breaks away to score a try during the round six Super Rugby Pacific match between the Queensland Reds and the NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium on March 26, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Dan Peled/Getty Images)
Jock Campbell of the Reds breaks away to score a try during the round six Super Rugby Pacific match between the Queensland Reds and the NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium on March 26, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Dan Peled/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Arnold was always likely to come back into the frame for the Rugby Championship, but injuries to Izack Rodda (foot) and Cadeyrn Neville (MCL) have seen Rennie call on the 2019 World Cup member immediately.

He will go from attending his brother Richie’s wedding on Saturday to rejoining the Wallabies ahead of their departure to Argentina late next week.

The 32-year-old comes in for fellow overseas-based star Samu Kerevi, who will play for Australia at the Commonwealth Games and his absence paves the way for Rennie to add Arnold as one of three overseas picks for the Wallabies alongside Quade Cooper and Marika Koroibete.

Arnold’s return comes just in the nick of time because the Wallabies will need to fight fire with fire against Cheika’s Pumas.

Toulouse’s lock Rory Arnold runs with the ball during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Toulouse and Montpellier in 2020. (Photo by REMY GABALDA / AFP)Source: AFP

Los Pumas won a thrilling Test series against Scotland last weekend, scoring with the final play of the game to steal a late victory.

Their series victory is just what Cheika will have wanted ahead of his first Test directly coaching against his former side.

While Cheika spent the previous two years serving as Mario Ledesma’s right-hand man, the former hooker’s resignation after a taxing two years saw the ex-Wallabies coach thrust into the spot.

The one-and-a-half year hit-and-run job is perfectly suited to Cheika’s man-management style.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper played down the significance of the head-to-head clash following their series loss to England on Saturday night by saying it wasn’t a new thing given Cheika’s history with Argentina.

“Look, he’s been coaching here for a couple years now,” Hooper said. “So I don’t think it’s much different.”

But there is no doubt the history will add some more spice to a Wallabies side under pressure after losing five of their past six Tests, particularly given they could meet in next year’s World Cup quarter-finals.

Rennie is being backed through to the World Cup, but after his winning percentage dropped to 39 – the lowest in Wallabies history since the game turned professional – questions are being asked why the Wallabies aren’t delivering.

It doesn’t just stop with Rennie either, with scrutiny over the leadership of the team to the strength and conditioning practices being implemented.

Elsewhere there are expected to only be minor changes to the squad, with subtle tweaks around the fringes of the squad.

Kerevi’s absence for the next two Tests could see Waratahs centre Lalakai Foketi come back into the mix as back-up for Hunter Paisami and Len Ikitau.

Questions remain over Angus Bell’s fitness, with the burgeoning loose-head prop suffering a toe injury during Saturday’s 21-17 loss to England.

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Were he to be ruled out, the Wallabies have cover with Scott Sio returning to compliment James Slipper while Tom Robertson could yet be called up.

Cooper is expected to come straight back into the team for the August 7 clash after suffering a calf injury in warm-up ahead of the first Test in Perth on July 2.

Jordan Petaia will likely return in the No.15 jersey too, having had his first Test start in the jersey stopped before it got started after suffering a head knock in Brisbane a week later.

It means Campbell will likely be confined to be Petaia’s back-up, with Tom Wright showing he is capable of filling in too after injuries to Tom Banks and Andrew Kellaway, but the Reds fullback shouldn’t be discounted.

While Petaia provides genuine X-factor, Campbell’s ability to find space, good kick and cool head offers something only Kellaway can provide: consistency.

For a backline needing good decision making, and perhaps potency and a different threat out wide in either the aerial threat of Petaia or Suliasi Vunivalu, Campbell could prove to be just the right man at the back for Rennie.

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Source by [graycupnews.com]


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