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Australia DROP Will Skelton for three-Test series against England to fit the overseas player quota

Australia DROP Champions Cup winner Will Skelton for three-Test series against England in a bid to hit the overseas player quota as Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete get the nod

  • Will Skelton will not take on England in Australia’s three-Test series in July
  • Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete will replace the 30-year-old
  • Wallabies chief Dave Rennie confirmed the Japan-based trio is available
  • Skelton misses because Australia can only choose three foreign players

England will face an Australian side boosted by the availability of Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete in their three-Test series next month.

But Will Skelton, La Rochelle’s Heineken Champions Cup winner, will not be part of Dave Rennie’s Wallaby roster during July’s matches.

Eddie Jones stepped up his preparation for a crucial series in the Southern Hemisphere this week with a training camp in England in London.

Will Skelton won his third Champions Cup trophy last month when La Rochelle defeated Leinster 24-21

Will Skelton won his third Champions Cup trophy last month when La Rochelle defeated Leinster 24-21

Australian head coach Dave Rennie is limited to three foreign players and has thus eliminated Skelton

Australian head coach Dave Rennie is limited to three foreign players and has thus eliminated Skelton

His team’s upcoming opponents, Australia, can only pick three players based outside their home country for a series under their eligibility decision.

Their head coach Rennie has chosen full-backs Cooper, Kerevi and Koroibete rather than Skelton to play against England.

“It’s probably not that secret after all, but Quade, Samu, and Marika are all coming back,” Rennie said.

Fly-half Quade Cooper played a total of 75 games for Australia and scored over 200 points

Fly-half Quade Cooper played a total of 75 games for Australia and scored over 200 points

“Quade and Samu are here in Sydney for medical checkups and Marika went straight to Fiji to spend some time with his family and he’s coming back for the weekend.”

Powerful wing Koroibete is one of the world’s best backs.

He and center Kerevi have both impressed in Japan’s national league this season with Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights and Suntory Sungoliath respectively.

Maverick fly-half Cooper helped Hanazono Kintetsu Liners to promotion to the top tier in Japan from the second tier.

Samu Kerevi is now available to play for Australia in their three Tests against England in July

Samu Kerevi is now available to play for Australia in their three Tests against England in July

Rennie added: “Marika was phenomenal so he hasn’t lost any of his physicality or work ethic so we’re excited to see him back.

Marika is one of the best wingers in the world. Not sure if there is another winger out there with his work ethic and repeatability. He’s just in top gear all day, so we’re looking forward to getting that back.”

Giant second-row Skelton helped La Rochelle conquer Europe for the first time last month and although he won’t meet England, he is in contention to play for Australia.

“We brought him in last year and he fitted in well. We don’t plan to use him for the English series, but maybe after that,” said Rennie.

On his return, Rennie Marika described Koroibete as 'one of the best wingers in the world'

On his return, Rennie Marika described Koroibete as ‘one of the best wingers in the world’

Australia has also been boosted by a positive injury to powerhouse Taniela Tupou, who is recovering from a calf problem but should be fit for the first test with England on July 2.

“He (Tupou) has shrunk a bit and worked really hard,” Rennie said.

“He’s in a really good place mentally, really fresh. Three weeks ago we were a little nervous, but we’re confident we’ll get him there for the first test.”

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