Lealiifano in, Cooper out for Wallabies' South Africa clash

Sydney (AFP) –


Cancer survivor Christian Lealiifano was recalled to the Wallabies for the first time in three years Thursday but there was no room for Quade Cooper or Nick Phipps in their squad to face South Africa.

Brumbies skipper Lealiifano hasn't featured in a Test squad since 2016, just months before he was diagnosed with Leukaemia.

But he has been in top Super Rugby form to earn his place alongside fellow fly-halves Bernard Foley and Matt Toomua in the 34-man squad for their Rugby Championship opener in Johannesburg on July 20.

The 31-year old joins three potential debutants, including No.8 Isi Naisarani and backrowers Liam Wright and Rob Valetini.

But Melbourne Rebels' Cooper, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Phipps, Ned Hanigan and James O'Connor were among big name omissions.

David Pocock, Adam Coleman and Pete Samu were unavailable with injury.

The Wallabies travel to Johannesburg on Sunday for a week-long training camp on South Africa's Highveld to prepare for the high altitude conditions.

Australia squad:

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Jack Dempsey, Folau Fainga'a, Michael Hooper (capt), Luke Jones, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Isi Naisarani, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese, Rob Valetini, Liam Wright

Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Jack Maddocks, Joe Powell, Matt Toomua, Nic White