Latu breaks arm, Fainga'a called up to Wallabies
August 11, 2014
Saia Fainga'a has been called into the Wallabies squad as an injury replacement © Getty Images
Latu was forced out of the squad after breaking an arm in a Sydney club game on the weekend. He joins Australia's two most senior hookers Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau on the casualty list heading into the first Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship game against New Zealand in Sydney on Saturday.
Although technically the third choice player in the position, Faingaa has far more caps than the combined tally of the players ahead of him. He has played 29 Tests, though only seven as a starter, while mooted starter Nathan Charles earned his first two caps off the bench in the recent series against France.
James Hanson, the other hooker previously named in the squad, made his only Test appearance as a substitute against the All Blacks in 2012. Prop Sekope Kepu was confident Charles and Hanson had the goods to take on the formidable New Zealand pack despite their lack of international experience.
"It's not like you're pulling guys that haven't played at Super Rugby level and guys like Hanson and Charles played massive amounts of games this year and credit to them they've played really well," he said. "It's their chance to step up to the plate. I've no doubt they are looking forward to soaking up the occasion and taking the opportunity."
Kepu wouldn't be surprised if the All Blacks targeted Charles.
"I'm sure they will look at that and as much as they might focus on us, our focus is on ourselves," Kepu said. "It's all about challenges and I'm sure the pack is up for this weekend. We're pretty excited."
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has spoken exclusively to ESPNscrum. Listen to the full, frank and wide-ranging interview on ESPNscrum from Tuesday, August 12, to get an insight into the Wallabies coach's thoughts and methods ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney on Saturday, August 16.
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