Australia set to go with more experienced Tolu Latu at hooker

Cheika says previously out of favour hooker has ‘been excellent since he’s been in camp’

Tolu Latu looks set to start the first Test between Ireland and Australia on Saturday. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images

Tolu Latu looks set to start the first Test between Ireland and Australia on Saturday. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images

 

Although only called up to the Wallabies squad on Wednesday, the four-times capped hooker Tolu Latu could seemingly feature against Ireland in Saturday’s first test at Lang Park (kick-off 8.05pm local time/11.05am Irish time).

Latu was added to the squad as a replacement for Jordan Uelese, who was favourite to wear the number two jersey until he suffered a season ending knee injury last weekend when playing for the Rebels. The other hookers in the squad, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Folau Fainga’a, are both uncapped, and Cheika lavished praise on the previously out of favour Latu.

The Waratahs hooker has edged ahead of Rebels hooker Anaru Rangi to the final squad spot. “He’s been out of favour at the Tahs for a lot of the year and he’s coming back into favour a little,” Cheika said.

“His two or three games he’s played, I think he’s had a good impact and he’s been excellent since he’s been in camp. He’ll be banking on his last few games of form but also his previous games for the Wallabies and I’m sure he’ll do well.

“Right now he’s our most capped hooker in Australia, so he’s got that little bit of experience playing in the big match atmosphere,” Cheika said, who names his team on Thursday. “Anaru Rangi has had a really good season with Melbourne too so he’s definitely not out of the equation. I’m just keen for the two uncapped hookers to have a little experience around.”

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