Wallabies winger Suliasi Vunivalu named in Australia A to play Japan XV

Suliasi Vunivalu will try to reignite his Rugby World Cup ambitions when he lines up on the right wing for Australia A against a Japan XV in Tokyo on Saturday.

The former NRL star is one of eight capped Wallabies in the starting XV as Australia looks to build crucial depth at the international level.

Vunivalu is in his second season as a highly paid rugby player but has just one Test cap to his name after being strangely used as a 77th minute substitute in the July loss to England at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Watch every match of Australia A’s tour of Japan on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. All matches streaming ad-free, live and on demand

The 26-year-old re-signed with Rugby Australia in June and Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said that the injury-prone speedster remained firmly in their plans.

“He’s not far away,” Rennie said.

“He needs to convince us at training around high speed and repeat speed. He’s certainly got some attributes that we know he’d excel at at this level, but it’s the whole package.

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“When you look at people like, in the backfield, (Andrew) Kellaway and Tom Wright, Marika (Koroibete), they have got a massive work ethic.

“I’m not sure if everyone appreciates the work those guys do off the ball. The decision making around starting those three is pretty straightforward.”

Wallabies captain James Slipper spoke highly of Vunivalu’s work behind the scenes.

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“He’s obviously had quite a few injuries, especially through Super Rugby,” Slipper said.

“Not being at his club I wasn’t too sure what was going on there with his hamstrings.

“At the moment he’s really fit and he’s training well. He’ll feature at some point throughout the year. He just needs to get that time in the saddle, on the training paddock, and then hopefully get some games on later in the year.”

Lonergan’s monster game-winner

Australia A coach Jason Gilmore has picked Brumbies halfback Ryan Lonergan as his captain for the first of three games in Japan.

Players are jostling for spots in the Wallabies squad to tour Europe in October-November.

AUSTRALIA A (15-1): Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Hudson Creighton, Bayley Kuenzle, Filipo Daugunu, Ben Donaldson, Ryan Lonergan (c), Langi Gleeson, Ollie Callan, Ned Hanigan, Cadeyrn Neville, Nick Frost, Tom Robertson, Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon

Reserves: Billy Pollard, Harry Hoopert, Archer Holz,. Ryan Smith, Brad Wilkin, James Tuttle, Isaac Henry, Mark Nawaqanitawase

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