Foketi’s spring tour over as Rennie flags two big inclusions for Italy

Rennie also gave positive updates on defender Tom Banks and prop Allan Alaalatoa, who missed the France Test with ankle injuries and concussion.

“Tom is an opportunity, he ran on Saturday,” Rennie said. “We think there’s a good chance he’ll be available. We’ll see how he goes in the next couple of days.

“Allan has been good. He’s been ticking a lot of boxes in recent weeks and if he can find his contact, we hope he’ll be ready.”

Renny plans to make a number of changes to Italy’s game in order to renew his squad ahead of games against Ireland and Wales to round off their five-week tour.

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The Wallabies coach kept his cards close to his chest when asked if he could name a debutant such as winger Mark Navakanitawase, playmaker Ben Donaldson or Sam Talakai.

What is known is that Jake Gordon will start in midfield, while Will Skelton is set to make the starting XV after an eye-catching 26 minutes at the Stade de France.

Jake Gordon kicks against France.

Jake Gordon kicks against France.Credit:AP

“It’s the end of a long season and if we beat a team five weeks in a row, it’s going to be out of character for Wales,” Rennie said. “We’re going to make some changes to get our guys fresh and it’s going to be exciting for the guys who are going to play because we think we’re going to get a lot out of them. They’re jumping at the chance.”

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Meanwhile, captain James Slipper has played 144 of the 160 minutes available to start the tour.

If the loose head prop is released, Australia will have to choose another captain.

Alaalatoa could get his first chance to lead the Wallabies after 61 Tests with Michael Hooper out of form and Nick White ruled out this week due to Rennie’s halfback rotation policy.

“He’s never going to put his hand up to not play,” Rennie said of Slipper. “We have to decide what’s best for the group. “We have a leadership group and if Slips wasn’t playing, one of the other guys would be in charge.”

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Australia have not played Italy since 2018, when the gold medalists won 26-7.

The pain of the one-point loss to France didn’t bother Rennie when the Wallabies toured their new base in Florence a day later.


“The boys are still upset about emptying the tank,” Rennie said. “We’re definitely going to make some changes this week.”

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