England are set to face an Australia side boosted by the reinforcements of Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete and Quade Cooper after the Wallabies head coach, Dave Rennie, revealed his three overseas picks for the series next month.
The Japan-based trio were all absent from the November clash when England ran out 32-15 winners but returned to bolster Rennie’s ranks as the Wallabies seek to end an eight-match losing streak against Eddie Jones’s side.
With La Rochelle reaching the Top 14 playoffs Rennie was never expected to select the second-row Will Skelton despite his stunning performance in the Champions Cup final as one of his three picks – a restriction imposed as part of Australia’s Giteau law, designed to stem the flow of players moving overseas.
Nonetheless, in Kerevi, Koroibete and Cooper, Rennie has been able to call on considerable firepower for the series which will have Jones taking note. Indeed, Kerevi helped Suntory Sungoliath – where Jones acts as a consultant – to the Japan League One final last month and earlier this year revealed he had been pumping the England head coach for “secrets” before the tour.
“It’s probably not that secret anyway but we’ve got Quade, Samu and Marika all coming back,” Rennie said. “Quade and Samu are here in Sydney just getting medical checks and Marika went straight to Fiji to spend some time with her family and he’ll be back on the weekend. Marika is one of the best wingers in the world – I’m not sure there’s another winger with his work ethic and repeatability. He’s just top gear all day so we’re looking forward to getting that back.
“Samu only played a few Tests but was nominated for World Rugby player of the year in 2021, which only highlights the impact he had. You look at Quade, he had a massive impact with us and was a really calming influence. He was so impressive with the group.”
England will face a Barbarians side captained by the France flanker Charles Ollivon before heading to Australia. Ollivon and the Clermont wing Damian Penaud were on Thursday confirmed by the Barbarians, who will be led by the France head coach, Fabien Galthié. He is expected to name a host of other France players for the Twickenham fixture on 19 June, while George Kruis is also set to line up against England before he retires. Galthié revealed Danny Care is on his radar if Harlequins are beaten by Saracens in Saturday’s Premiership semi-final, while Finn Russell and Cheslin Kolbe have previously been touted as potential picks.