Reds utility back Karmichael Hunt has been recalled to the Wallabies squad after playing just 40 minutes in Australia's National Rugby Championship.
Hunt has been named in Wallaby coach Michael Cheika’s squad for the third Bledisloe Test next weekend in Brisbane and the Barbarians clash a week later, despite having played just one half of rugby, for Brisbane City.
The 30-year-old was one of Australia’s standouts in June before suffering a syndesmosis injury in the latter rounds of Super Rugby, ruling him out of the Rugby Championship.
Cheika said he wouldn’t rush Hunt back into the matchday 23 if he wasn’t ready, and with the return of Kurtley Beale and Reece Hodge’s outstanding Rugby Championship form, Hunt will have to prove himself all over again.
“I wouldn't expect it (Hunt to return to the matchday 23),” Cheika told the Australian Rugby Union's official website.
“We'll see how he goes at training, how he plays this weekend in NRC and then how he goes in training.
“In the last camp in June, he pretty much forced his way into the team.
“In the first week of training, I wouldn't have had him pencilled in and he could well do that again this week.
“He's probably got a bit more competition now as we've built the squad over the Rugby Championship.”
Hunt has only played at inside centre for the Wallabies and Cheika said that or fullback, where he regularly plays for Queensland, would likely be his only options.
“I think he can go 12 or fullback, plays fullback at his state team and 12, I think he can mix between the two more than comfortably,” he said.
“He can play a running playmaker role, as well, and he's a very solid defender.”
Reds flanker Adam Korczyk, utility back izaia Perese, Brumbies lock Rory Arnold and Rebels backrower Lopeti Timani all return to the squad, with Korczyk released from the South Africa and Argentina legs of the Rugby Championship and the latter three coming home ahead of the Pumas Test.
Cheika has also added Jermaine Ainsley, Duncan Paiaaua and Folau Faingaa as three development players for the next fortnight, with an eye more to the Barbarians game.
That trio could be in the mix to follow in the footsteps of players like Jack Dempsey and Izaia Perese, who were taken on the end-of-year tour last year and graduated into the fully-fledged Wallabies squad.
With Stephen Moore set to bow out of Test rugby at the end of the year, Brumbies hooker Faingaa has become the next in line to audition for a step up, with Cheika also taking a keen interest in Western Australia's Anaru Rangi.
Rangi will be playing with the Barbarians against the Wallabies later this month.
“I think Folau Faingaa's a guy we'd like to come and have a closer look at from what he's done in NRC,” said Cheika.
“He's gone down to the Vikings and done quite well.
“We've also got our eye on Rangi out of Perth. He's been a standout for me. I know he doesn't play regularly but when he plays he's all 100 per cent commitment and I really like that.
“Also, Mafi out of Queensland as well.
“There's some newer guys on the scene that we'll be looking to try and blood and give a bit more experience.”
The Wallabies will convene on the Gold Coast on Sunday, ahead of the third Bledisloe Test next Saturday in Brisbane.
Australia will take on New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday October 14.
Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Tetera Faulkner, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (c), Sekope Kepu, Adam Korczyk, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Lopeti Timani, Lukhan Tui, Jordan Uelese
Backs: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Reece Hodge, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Billy Meakes, Izaia Perese, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Henry Speight
Development group: Folau Fainga'a, Jermaine Ainsley, Duncan Paia'aua