Full article: https://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/wallabies/winners-and-losers-from-michael-cheikas-wallabies-squad-announcement-to-take-on-ireland/news-story/508a45df30d9caac4b319db00fb4c21e?nk=3934d8b0c216e1eda2e3b193690bedee-1527727017

There are five uncapped players and plenty of surprises in Michael Cheika’s 32 man Wallabies squad to take on Ireland in the June Test series. (Tom Banks, Folau Fainga’a, Jack Maddocks, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, and Caleb Timu)

At the start of the season Folau Fainga’a wasn’t even the Brumbies’ first choice hooker, but an injury to Josh Mann-Rea provided an opening and that’s all the 23-year-old needed.

After coming off the bench against the Rebels back in March, Fainga’a has started every match since.

The fact that he’s been packing down alongside Wallabies props Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa has helped his cause too.

Fainga’a has also had a long relationship with Cheika.

He was in the Waratahs’ under-20s side when the Wallabies coach was at NSW and right from the outset made an impression.

Folau’s really done well,” Cheika said.

“I had him a little bit in the under-20s at the Waratahs when he was there and I think he’s got a good balance.

“A good life away from rugby as well.

“We had him in (Wallabies) camp, a week with us last year before a tour, he handled himself pretty well and he’s been playing there in between Scotty and Allan down in Canberra.

“He’s got a good bit of swagger, I like his attitude and I think he’ll take an opportunity given with both hands.

“Having him working with those two guys will help him understand the level that’s required.”

Fainga’a’s workrate and set piece work is solid but he also possesses a bit of X factor.

Anyone that saw him sprint down the left touchline at GIO Stadium against the Reds and dive spectacularly in an attempt to ground the ball would have been left impressed.

He didn’t score the try, but the incredible act of athleticism was something we haven’t seen from our hookers in a long time.

Fainga’a is banned from Super Rugby this weekend after his silly headbutt in South Africa but will be available for the first Test on June 9.


Hookers: Folau Fainga’a, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Jordan Uelese

Props: Sekope Kepu, Tom Robertson, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Allan Alaalatoa

Locks: Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold

Backrowers: Michael Hooper (c), David Pocock, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Ned Hanigan

Halfbacks: Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell

Five-eighths: Bernard Foley

Centres: Kurtley Beale, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Curtis Rona

Outside backs: Israel Folau, Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Jack Maddocks, Marika Koroibete, Sefa Naivalu