Giant winger Taqele Naiyaravoro is a chance to make his Test debut against the United States in Chicago this weekend, after being one of three players called into help the Wallabies World Cup squad’s preparations.
Naiyaravoro has arrived at the team’s camp at Notre Dame University in Indiana after playing in the Barbarians’ 27-24 win over Samoa in London, while lock Sam Carter and hooker James Hanson will link with the squad after getting some game time in the opening rounds of the National Rugby Championship.
“We just wanted to have a couple of extras in the camp with some of the plans that we’ve got for what we’re going to do with the team and how we’re going to train over the next two weeks,” Wallabies’ coach Michael Cheika told AAP.
Naiyaravoro enjoyed a strong season with the Waratahs and scored a hat-trick of tries for a World XV against Japan in Tokyo in mid-August.
“He’s had a couple of pseudo-international runs playing with the Barbarians and World XV against national teams, so he’s had a bit of a taste of that level,” Cheika said.
“I would say it’s likely that he will see some time in the match this week, it’s just a matter of how everyone turns up tomorrow and how they are feeling.”
Carter was probably the unluckiest of the three additional players joining the squad this week to miss out on World Cup selection.
He started 11 Tests last year, but suffered a medial ligament knee injury playing Super Rugby for the Brumbies in late May.
While he was injured, Dean Mumm and Kane Douglas moved ahead of him in the pecking order to win squad spots after returning from overseas club teams.
“You’d have to think Sam Carter was in prime position before he got injured,” Cheika said.
“He didn’t have any footy under his belt at all by the time we came to pick the squad. His first game was the day after.
“It’s fine margins and it was always going to be close. We do have a track record of knowing what he can do.
“He’s trained with us, he’s been training well and we’ve got both he and James Horwill as lock players who will be outside the squad, so if we get any type of injury, obviously we’ve got good options to come in.”
Hanson, who played nine Tests between 2012 and 2014, was one of the players overlooked for a third hookers spot, with just two specialist rakes selected in captain Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Prop Scott Sio is the designated third-string hooker at present, but Cheika stressed he would have plenty of other potential options if injury ruled out one of the specialists.
He said they included calling up one off the three hookers who went on last year’s spring tour in Hanson, Josh Mann-Rea and Saia Fainga’a, or the emerging Tolu Latu.