Rugby Championship
Kyle Godwin called into Wallabies squad
ESPN Staff
August 27, 2014
Kyle Godwin is called in to the squad to replace Pat McCabe © Getty Images
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Kyle Godwin has been called in to the Wallabies squad for the next round of Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa and Argentina, the uncapped Western Force centre selected in the injury-enforced absence of Pat McCabe.

Tatafu Polota-Nau also re-joins the group, replacing Nathan Charles, although the New South Wales hooker will not be considered for selection against South Africa at Patersons Stadium on September 6 as he continues to rehabilitate his injured knee. His availability will be re-assessed for the test against Argentina on the Gold Coast the following week.

Charles seems likely to miss the remainder of the season after the Western Force hooker sustained a pectoral tear in the second Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand at Eden Park, while McCabe faces the likely prospect of retirement after fracturing his neck for the third time in less than two years.

Pat McCabe set to retire

Ewen McKenzie said that Godwin, 22, had "been on the national radar for some time but unfortunately hasn't had much of an opportunity to join the Wallabies environment due to injury".

The Zimbabwe-born former Australia Under-20 playmaker seemed certain to tour Europe with the Wallabies last year, only to sustain a season-ending shoulder injury, and a low-grade knee ligament tear ruled him out of contention for the squad that swept France in June.

"He now gets his chance to join the squad, and we'll look forward to learning more about him," McKenzie said.

Godwin thought initially that he would only miss one week with the injury this year to his left knee, but he spent more than three months on the sidelines after scans showed significant damage to his posterior cruciate ligament. He is due to return to action for Perth Spirit against Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship this Sunday.

"Right now I'm struggling to even get a spot in the NRC, so that's my first priority," Godwin said on Tuesday when put up at a Spirit press conference.

"I've had a bit of bad luck in terms of a few injuries over the years. Hopefully I can put those behind me and get on the field and improve my rugby. I'm feeling great, and I'm very confident in my knee. There's always going to be a bit of elasticity in the knee. It's going to be a bit loose. But my body's gotten used to that."

McKenzie said the squad had to respond to the disappointment of their loss against New Zealand.

"We don't hide from the fact that our performance against New Zealand was well below our own expectations, which was especially disappointing considering the momentum we had created since last year's Spring Tour," he said. "We'll address that and then get on with preparing for what will be a very tough battle against South Africa next Saturday night."

Western Force hooker Heath Tessman and prop Tetera Faulkner will be invited to train with the squad while the Wallabies are in Perth.

Australia squad to play South Africa and Argentina

Props: Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Pek Cowan (Force), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), James Slipper (Reds).

Hookers: Saia Fainga'a (Reds), James Hanson (Reds), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs).

Second-row: Sam Carter (Brumbies), James Horwill (Reds), Rob Simmons (Reds), Will Skelton (Waratahs).

Back-row: Scott Fardy (Brumbies), Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), Matt Hodgson (Force), Michael Hooper (Waratahs, captain), Ben McCalman (Force), Wycliff Palu (Waratahs).

Scrum-halves: Luke Burgess (Rebels), Nick Phipps (Waratahs), Nic White (Brumbies).

Fly-halves: Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs).

Centres: Kyle Godwin (Force), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Leali'ifano (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Brumbies).

Back three: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Peter Betham (Waratahs), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Rob Horne (Waratahs).

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