Suliasi Vunivalu will look to reignite his Rugby World Cup ambitions in the right-wing line up for Australia A against Japan XV in Tokyo on Saturday.
The former NRL star is one of eight capped wallabies in the starting XV as Australia look to build up significant depth at the international level.
Vunivalu is in his second season as a highly paid rugby player, but has only one to his name after being oddly used as a 77th-minute substitute in their July loss against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Test cap.
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The 26-year-old was re-signed with Rugby Australia in June and Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said the injured pacer remained firmly in his plans.
“That’s not far off,” said Renee.
“He needs to convince us to train around higher speeds and repeat speeds. He definitely has some characteristics that we know he will excel at at this level, but it’s the whole package.
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“When you look at guys like Backfield (Andrew) Calaway and Tom Wright, Marika (Koroibet), they have a massive work ethic.
“I’m not sure if everyone appreciates the work of those guys who do it with the ball. The decision to start all three of them is pretty straightforward.”
Wallabies captain James Slipper revealed a lot about Vunivalu’s work behind the scenes.
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“Obviously he has suffered a lot of injuries, especially through Super Rugby,” Slipper said.
“With him not in the club I wasn’t sure what was going on there with his hamstrings.
“At the moment he’s really fit and he’s training well. He’ll be working out at some point throughout the year. He just needs to get that time in the saddle, on the training paddock, and then hopefully That get some games later in the year.”
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Australia A (15-1): Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Hudson Creighton, Bailey Kuenzale, Filippo Daugun, Ben Donaldson, Ryan Lonergan (c), Langie Gleeson, Ollie Colon, Ned Hannigan, Cadairn Neville, Nick Frost, Tom Robertson, Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon
inventory: Billy Pollard, Harry Huppert, Archer Holz, . Ryan Smith, Brad Wilkin, James Tuttle, Isaac Henry, Mark Nawakanitawase
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