Kurtley Beale became the latest Australian international to join a European Club.
When Wasps announced the capture of Kurtley Beale last week, the utility back became the latest Wallaby international to join a European club. Indeed, this summer Beale will be joined by Matt Tooma, Greg Holmes and Liam Gill at northern hemisphere clubs.
The quartet of player will join the likes of Quade Cooper, Matt Giteau, Sekope Kepu, and Drew Mitchell already plying their trade in Europe. Although Giteau’s law allows Michael Chieka select many of Australia’s overseas stars, those players who do not possess 60 caps find themselves in international exile.
Nevertheless, given the number of Wallaby internationals playing abroad, Michael Cheika could select a European based XV for Australia’s upcoming test series against England.
1. Dylan Evans (Scarlets)
Having had trials at the Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and the Crusaders, Dylan Evans joined the Scarlets in the summer of 2015. Although it is far more likely that Evans will be capped by Wales rather than Australia at this point, until Warren Gatland caps the loosehead, he can still be selected by the Wallabies.
2. John Ulugia (Clermont)
After enjoying a Super Rugby career with the Brumbies and Waratahs, John Ulugia joined Clermont during the summer of 2014. Like Evans, Ulugia has not been capped by Australia, but has represented the Wallabies at school boy level.
3. Sekope Kepu (Bordeaux Begles)
Having emerged from the World Cup with a huge amount of credit, Sekope Kepu, joined Bordeaux Begles. However, having made 63 appearances for the Wallabies, Kepu can continue to line out for Australia.
4. Sitaleki Timani (Montpellier)
After earning 18 Wallaby caps between 2011 and 2013, Tongan born Sitaleki Timani took the decision to join Montpellier. Although he struggled to make an impact this season, during the 2014/15 season Timani featured in 23 matches for Montpellier.
5. James Horwill (Harlequins)
Although James Horwill had Captained Australia during the 2011 World Cup and made 61 appearances for the Wallabies between 2007 and 2015, Michael Cheika omitted the big second second row from his World Cup squad.
Horwill subsequently joined Harlequins at the beginning of the season.
6. Ben Mowen (Montpellier)
After making his debut against the British and Irish Lions in 2013 at 28 years of age, Ben Mowen went onto make a further 14 appearances for Australia before following Jake White to Montpellier in 2014. Effectively ending his international career one year after it began.
7. Liam Gill (Toulon)
Although Liam Gill would have to see off David Pocock, Michael Hooper and Sean McMahon to even break into the Australian starting XV, losing the flanker to Toulon so early in his career represents a blow to the Wallabies.
A talented player, Gill has already earned 15 international caps.
8. George Smith (Wasps)
After leaving Lyon last summer, George Smith illustrated just how good a player he is for Wasps this season. In an international career that spanned 13 years, Smith retired twice and earned a remarkable 111 caps.
9. Will Genia (Stade Francais)
At the peak of his powers, Will Genia was regarded by many as being the best scrum half in the game. However his form subsequently dipped and he found himself behind Nick Phipps in the Australian pecking order.
However, after winning 66 caps, Genia can still be called up to the Australian squad by Cheika, despite joining Stade Francais last summer.
10. Quade Cooper (Toulon)
Although Quade Cooper only joined Toulon after the World Cup, it is widely believed that he will leave the Stade Mayol and return to Australia this summer. If he does so, Cooper will once again become eligible for Australia after making 58 previous appearances.
11. James O’Connor (Toulon)
James O’Connor is a brilliantly talented player who can play in a number of positions. However his off field antics have overshadowed much of his career. Nevertheless, O’Connor finds himself at one of Europe’s top clubs.
At 25 years of age, O’Connor has time to add to his 44 caps.
12. Matt Giteau (Toulon)
Matt Giteau is such a good player, Australia broke with their own selection policy to make him available for the 2015 World Cup. Despite being 33 years of age, Giteau shows no sign of slowing down and could feature against England this summer.
13. Matt Toomua (Leicester Tigers)
Like many Australian backs, Matt Toomua is talented footballer who can play in a number of positions. Toomua’s speed, size and distribution make him an ideal fly half, while his ability to straighten the line in attack encourages coaches to select him in midfield.
Having only earned 31 international caps, Toomua will not be available for selection once he joins the Leicester Tigers.
14. Drew Mitchell (Toulon)
After joining Toulon in 2013, Drew Mitchell’s international career appeared over. However, like other players on this team, Mitchell was able to benefit from Giteau’s law, and was included in the the Wallabies World Cup squad.
With a busy summer ahead for Australia, Mitchell looks set to add to his 70 international caps.
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Bordeaux Begles)
Had Kurtley Beale not suffered an injury last weekend, he would have been included at full back. However we have had to look elsewhere and found a more than adequate replacement in Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Often referred to as Mr fix-it, Ashley-Cooper can play in a number of positions. As a result, he has been able to accumulate 114 caps.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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