Returning duo Naiyaravoro and Houston included in Wallabies squad to face England

Michael Cheika has included a number of surprise selections in his Wallabies squad for the upcoming home series against England

Returning duo Naiyaravoro and Houston included in Wallabies squad to face England
Leroy Houston has received an instant call-up to the Wallabies squad having signed for the Reds (image via:

Michael Cheika has included a number of surprising names in his Australian squad to face England next month. 

The 39-man wider training squad announced includes ten uncapped players and four who have plying their trade overseas this season. 

The back division available to Cheika looks very different to the one chosen for last year's World Cup, with Kurtley BealeJoe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Henry Speight, Will Genia, Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Drew Mitchell all either rested or injured. 

Houston and Naiyaravoro selected following Australian returns

On the day of the squad announcement, Bath Rugby confirmed that fan favourite Leroy Houston would be returning to Australia to help him realise his dream of playing international rugby.

The back-rower was an instant hit in the West Country, and admitted that it was only the lure of the gold and green jersey that was enough for him to make a return down under. 

The New Zealand-born Houston is available to play for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby immediately, having left the same franchise to join Bath four years ago. 

Another man returning to Australia is Taqele Naiyaravoro, who only left the Waratahs to join Glasgow less than a year ago. The big winger will now return to play for the Sydney-franchise at the end of this season after cutting short his stint with Glasgow. 

Naiyaravoro leaving Scarlets defenders in his wake on the way to a Champions Cup hat-trick (image via:

Naiyaravoro made a mark in the short time he had at Scotstoun, scoring a memorable hat-trick in their Champions Cup fixture against the Llanelli Scarlets

Powell suprise leads list of ten uncapped squad members

Brumbies scrum-half Joe Powell is the major surprise in Cheika's squad having played just 50 minutes in Super Rugby this season.

Sitting behind Argentinian nine Tomas Cubelli at the Canberra franchise has seen him play in just four fixtures so far this campaign, but that has been enough for him to be selected as the Wallabies third-choice nine. 

Powell joins Nick Phipps and Nick Frisby as scrum-halves in the squad, ahead of the surprise omission of Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker.

Beale injury leaves Cheika with back division questions

The injury to Kurtley Beale two weeks ago, opened up another position in the Australian back division. Phipps and Bernard Foley are expected to continue their partnership at nine and ten, but outside of that there are a number of potential combinations.

Tevita Kuridrani will definitely start in the centres, and could be joined by Israel Folau who has been playing at 13 for the Waratahs in recent weeks. Folau's best form this season came with him playing in his first-choice position at full-back, yet he can be a game-changer anywhere on the field and he may be given a centre role. 

That then leaves the back three positions wide open, and if he is selecting players on form then it will be hard for Cheika to leave out Force full-back Dane Haylett-Petty

Dane Haylett-Petty has been a standout performer in 2016 for the Force (image via:

Haylett-Petty has been the Force's standout player in another sorry campaign for the Perth franchise, yet with other options at a minimum he looks set for a Test debut. 

Rob Horne will likely start on the left wing after returning from injury in recent weeks, with Mike Harris and Samu Kerevi possibly battling it out for the final starting spot, with Cheika having left his options wide open. 

Squad in full

Props: Allan Alaalatoa, Greg Holmes, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Toby Smith. 

Hookers: James Hanson, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Locks: Rory Arnold, Sam Carter, Adam Coleman, James Horwill, Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton. 

Loose Forwards: Scott Fardy, Liam Gill, Michael Hooper, Leroy Houston, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock.

Scrum-halves: Nick Frisby, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell. 

Fly-halves: Bernard Foley, Christian Lealiifano.

Back five: Israel Folau, Mike Harris, Dane Haylett-Petty, Rob Horne, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Luke Morahan, Eto Nabuli, Taqele Naiyaravoro.