Wallabies call up Latu as hooking woes continue
More than a decade of dependence on Stephen Moore is leaving Australia light on hooking options.
Michael Cheika has been forced into adding Waratahs number 2 Tolu Latu to his squad ahead of this Saturday's first test with Ireland.
The four-times capped Latu replaces Jordan Uelese, who suffered a torn cruciate ligament in the Melbourne Rebels' Super Rugby win against the Auckland Blues last weekend.
Despite just four test appearances, Latu is the most experienced hooking option available to Cheika, with uncapped pair Folau Fainga'a and Brandon Paenga-Amosa given their first call-ups last week.
Latu has also been struggling to break into the Waratahs side this year, featuring for the NSW side just four times in their opening 13 games. Cheika says however, that his recent form has merited the recall.
"He’s been out of favour at the Tahs for a lot of the year and he’s coming back into favour a little. His two or three games he’s played, I think he’s had a good impact and he’s been excellent since he’s been in camp.
"He’ll be banking on his last few games of form but also his previous games for the Wallabies and I’m sure he’ll do well."
Latu was chosen over Rebels hooker Anaru Rangi for the late call-up, but Cheika says the door remains open for Rangi to feature later in the series, and that Latu's experience - as limited as it is - was enough for him to get the nod.
"Right now he’s our most-capped hooker in Australia, so he’s got that little bit of experience playing in the big match atmosphere."
"Anaru Rangi has had a really good season with Melbourne too so he’s definitely not out of the equation. I’m just keen for the two uncapped hookers (Paenga-Amosa and Fainga'a) to have a little experience around."
Both Ireland and Australia are expected to name their matchday squads tomorrow, ahead of Saturday's first test.