Allora's Greg Holmes named by Wallabies for Brisbane Test
SOUTHERN Downs rugby union fans are getting closer to seeing Allora forward Greg Holmes in another Brisbane Test after he was named in the 33-man squad for the June 11 series opener against England at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Coach Michael Cheika has named seven potential debutants in the squad for the first Test after a gruelling training camp on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
"We had a great week in Caloundra and the competition for spots has been intense during each of the sessions," he said.
"All of the players in the broader squad will be picked at some point during the series and I know that any of them could step in if asked at anytime."
Holmes has impressed for the Reds this season after being a permanent part of Cheika's Test squads last season.
Cheika brought Holmes back into the Test fold in 2015 and the Allora prop did not disappoint.
A limited number of tickets are still available for the three Test series against England which kicks-off at Suncorp Stadium on June 11. www.ticketek.com.au/wallabies
The announcement of the 33-man squad caps a whirlwind week for Melbourne Rebels young gun Reece Hodge who was a late call-up as injury cover for Rebels teammate Mike Harris.
"Reece has really impressed me this week after being thrown into the deep end," Cheika said.
"It's not just about being in the environment for him now and I know he'll be pushing for selection in the match day 23."
The rejuvenated squad features 22 members of the Wallabies' 2015 Rugby World Cup squad while former Wallabies captain James Horwill (Harlequins, UK) is the only overseas based selection after the New South Wales Waratahs announced the signing of veteran prop Sekope Kepu.
Kepu was granted a release from the final two years of his deal with French club Bordeaux and will now link with the Wallabies immediately after he touches down in Australia.
"I really enjoyed my time in France, while experiencing a new rugby culture with my family," Kepu said.
"The opportunity to come home and reconnect with the Wallabies and play Super Rugby is an honour for me, and I am looking forward to joining the boys and working hard to earn a spot in the team against England during the series."
Squad for the 2016 England Series (in alphabetical order):
Alan Alaalatoa* (Brumbies), Rory Arnold* (Brumbies), Sam Carter (Brumbies), Scott Fardy (Brumbies), Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs), Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs), Nick Frisby* (Queensland Reds), Dane Haylett-Petty* (Western Force), Reece Hodge* (Melbourne Rebels), Greg Holmes (Queensland Reds), Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs), Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs), James Horwill (Harlequins), Karmichael Hunt* (Queensland Reds), Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs), Samu Kerevi* (Queensland Reds), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), Ben McCalman (Western Force), Sean McMahon (Melbourne Rebels), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Luke Morahan (Western Force), Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs), Taqele Naiyaravoro (NSW Waratahs), Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs), Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs), David Pocock (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs), Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Will Skelton (NSW Waratahs), James Slipper (Queensland Reds), Toby Smith (Melbourne Rebels). *denotes uncapped at Test level