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Wallabies door not closed to Japan-based trio, says RA chief

Rugby Australia chair Hamish McLennan has left the door open for Samu Kerevi, Quade Cooper and Sean McMahon to return to the Wallabies squad after the Japan-based players' contentious late withdrawal from the team's European tour last week.

The trio were recalled by coach Dave Rennie during last month's Rugby Championship, with Kerevi and Cooper shining as the Wallabies notched up wins over South Africa and Argentina.

But the three, who have lucrative contracts with Japanese outfits, pulled out of the squad ahead of next weekend's meeting with Scotland, preferring to remain with their clubs.

"I wholeheartedly believe that all parties want to do the right thing," McLennan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Let's not forget that Quade and Samu were in the Wallabies wilderness until they made a miraculous comeback during The Rugby Championship.

"It's unreasonable to expect they would make a 180-degree turnaround from their existing commitments.

"Dave had the vision and guts to give them a break, which has paid off handsomely. And instead of saying who said what to whom, I think we should all be delighted with the progress the team has made."

While McMahon was limited to a role within the squad, his Suntory Sungoliath club mate Kerevi was impressive until he picked up an ankle injury in the second of the Wallabies' two victories over Argentina that ruled him out of last week's win over Japan.

Cooper has also been an influential presence since ending almost four years in the Wallabies wilderness but he, like Kerevi and McMahon, chose to stay in Japan - where he plays for Kintetsu Liners - to prepare for the upcoming season.

The trio's return to the squad had happened due to a relaxation of Rugby Australia's Giteau Law, which limits the number of overseas-based players who can be selected to play for the Wallabies.

"The Giteau Law, as it was, doesn't work," McLennan said.

"And the rugby committee have made some intelligent recommendations to give us this momentum. I want to thank Samu, Quade and Sean for their efforts, and we will all learn from this.

"They haven't burnt bridges with me."

Australia, who are on a five-game winning streak, take on Scotland in Edinburgh on Sunday before facing England at Twickenham six days later.

They finish their stint in the northern hemisphere on Nov. 20 when they play Wales in Cardiff.

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by William Mallard)

Source: Reuters

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