Genia released from Wallabies squad; Pocock, McMahon return
SYDNEY (AP) — Veteran scrumhalf Will Genia has been released from Australia's squad to return to his club in France, while backrowers David Pocock and Sean McMahon have been recalled from injuries for the Bledisloe Cup test against New Zealand on Oct. 22.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika announced his extended 31-man squad on Friday for the third test of the year against World Cup and Rugby Championship winner New Zealand, which is aiming for a record 18th consecutive victory.
The absence of Genia, one of the most consistent performers in Australia's Rugby Championship run, leaves Nick Phipps and Nick Frisby as the specialist halfbacks. He is returning to Stade Francais because the Oct. 22 test falls outside the mandatory window for international selection.
"As much as I'd like to have him, no complaints from my end — they are totally within their rights to ask for the player back," Cheika said. "Genia ... has been in some of the best form he's had in an Australian jersey.
"He's been really instrumental for the team as a whole and he's one of the senior players we do have, but it's a great opportunity for Nick Phipps to get back out there and stake a claim for the jersey."
Phipps went on as a replacement last weekend in Australia's win over Argentina at Twickenham, and was cautioned after an extraordinary incident when he shoved an Argentine team trainer who was on the field and appeared to grab the ball.
Australia hasn't won a rugby test at Eden Park, Auckland, since 1986, and Cheika said his squad would have to play the game of their lives to beat the All Blacks.
World Cup finalist Australia won three and lost three tests in the Rugby Championship series, surrendering the title to New Zealand, after an unprecedented 3-0 series loss to England at home in June.
Cheika has also recalled lock Will Skelton to add some size to a forward pack that was overpowered at the breakdown and set piece in home-and-away losses to New Zealand.
Australia squad: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Quade Cooper, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Nick Frisby, James Hanson, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Sekope Kepu, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Tolu Latu, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, Luke Morahan, Dean Mumm, Sefanaia Naivalu, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tom Robertson, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Will Skelton, Henry Speight, James Slipper, Lopeti Timani.