Fresh off the Club’s recent Wallabies and U20’s selections, the Melbourne Rebels are proud to announce six Rebels have been selected in the Australia A Squad to play Tonga.
Emerging Super Rugby star Josh Canham joins fellow Victorian Pone Fa’amuasili in Eddie Jones’ 25 man squad, while the electrifying Lachie Anderson has been rewarded for a stellar 2023 campaign, named in his first Australia A squad since coming across from the Australia Sevens in 2020.
New recruit Lukhan Salakaia-Loto has been selected alongside Sam Talakai, while Rebels Captain Brad Wilkin will embark on his second Australia A tour in as many years.
The match will be a key fixture as both the Wallabies and Tonga continue their preparations ahead of the Rugby World Cup in France which kicks off in September.
In extra significance, the match will take place on the 50th anniversary of Tonga’s victory over the Wallabies at Ballymore in Brisbane; a match where Fatai Kefu, the father of current Tonga coach and Wallabies legend Toutai Kefu, represented the Ikale Tahi.
The Australia A program was successfully reintroduced last year, with the side earning wins over Fiji, Tonga and Japan XV side. It also led to the Test debuts of a number of players including Jock Campbell, Ben Donaldson, Mark Nawaqanitawase and Langi Gleeson.
The side will be led by head coach Jason Gilmore with ACT Brumbies duo Rod Seib and Laurie Fisher as his assistants.
Australia A coach Jason Gilmore said: “It’s great to build on the foundations of the Australia A program from last year with another hit out against Test-quality International opposition in Tonga.”
“Eddie has selected a group with a huge amount of talent and alongside the rest of the Australia A coaches, I’m looking forward to working closely with them and maximising our time together.”
Australia A will play the Ikale Tahi at 3:00pm local time (12:00pm AEST) on 14 July at Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku'alofa, Tonga.
Today’s announcement caps an exciting few weeks for the Club, with 20 Rebels selected across 4 National Teams.
Australia A Squad to play Tonga:
Lachlan Anderson (Melbourne Rebels) Jock Campbell (Queensland Reds) Josh Canham (Melbourne Rebels) Pone Fa’amausili (Melbourne Rebels) Folau Fainga’a (Western Force) Issak Fines-Leleiwasa (Western Force) Bernard Foley (Kubota Spears) Josh Flook (Queensland Reds) Jake Gordon (NSW Waratahs) Ned Hanigan (NSW Waratahs) Tom Lambert (NSW Waratahs) Lachlan Lonergan (ACT Brumbies) Cadeyrn Neville (ACT Brumbies) James O’Connor (Queensland Reds) Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Melbourne Rebels) Ollie Sapsford (ACT Brumbies) Blake Schoupp (ACT Brumbies) Lachlan Swinton (NSW Waratahs) Sam Talakai (Melbourne Rebels) Corey Toole (ACT Brumbies) Seru Uru (Queensland Reds) Rhys Van Nek (ACT Brumbies) Joey Walton (NSW Waratahs) Brad Wilkin (Melbourne Rebels) Harry Wilson (Queensland Reds)