Toulon stars Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau have returned to the Wallaby ranks after being named in Michael Cheika’s Rugby Championship squad.
Mitchell and Giteau have benefitted from the new foreign policy ruling that entitles overseas-based internationals with 60 caps or more to be considered for selection.
With 154 caps between them, the New South Walians will bring considerable experience and class to the Wallaby backline. Their inclusion also opens the door for both to potentially compete at a third Rugby World Cup.
Giteau won the last of his 92 caps in 2011 before heading to the south of France, while Top 14 teammate Mitchell has represented his country on 62 occasions from 2005-12.
Newly-signed Waratahs second-row Dean Mumm has been rewarded for the impact he has made with Exeter in the English Premiership over the last couple of years with a first call-up since 2012.
Queensland Reds prop Greg Holmes is another to return based on form. The 13-test veteran has impressed throughout the 2015 Super Rugby season with fellow Reds front-rowers James Hanson and James Slipper joining him in the squad.
Scott Higginbotham and Sam Carter are back after missing the European tour last November due to injury, while Waratahs captain David Dennis gets an opportunity to press for Wallaby honours for the first time since November 2013, after being ruled out of last year’s international season with a knee injury.
Uncapped players Toby Smith, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Rory Arnold and Samu Kerevi are the latest additions to the Wallabies fold, following a gruelling two-week training programme with the preliminary train-on squad in Brisbane.
The 40-man squad, featuring a combination of youth and experience, will assemble this Sunday for a one-week camp on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
“The extended squad gives the new coaching staff a great opportunity to observe and test some new combinations,” said Cheika.
“Off the field, this group has been working very hard and I'm very pleased for our new players entering the Wallabies environment.
“We're fortunate enough to see some experience enter the squad from both Super Rugby and overseas. It is important we get them connected to the Wallabies culture as soon as possible.
“We are expecting a pretty physical week ahead in Caloundra, and we will look to shave down the squad closer to test week when we arrive in Brisbane to take on the Springboks.”
Extended Wallabies squad: Rory Arnold (Brumbies), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Quade Cooper (Reds), Dave Dennis (Waratahs), James Hanson (Reds), Scott Fardy (Brumbies), Tetera Faulkner (Force), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs), Will Genia (Reds), Matt Giteau (Toulon), Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), Greg Holmes (Reds), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), Rob Horne (Waratahs), James Horwill (Reds), Samu Kerevi (Reds), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Drew Mitchell (Toulon), Wyclif Palu (Waratahs), Ben McCalman (Force), Sean McMahon (Rebels), Dean Mumm (Waratahs), Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs), Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs), David Pocock (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Rob Simmons (Reds), Will Skelton (Waratahs), James Slipper (Reds), Toby Smith (Rebels), Henry Speight (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Brumbies), Joe Tomane (Brumbies), Nic White (Brumbies).