HomeWallabies vs. Scotland: Rory Arnold addresses return for Australia, surreal return

Wallabies vs. Scotland: Rory Arnold addresses return for Australia, surreal return



Towering Wallabies veteran Rory Arnold says it’s “surreal” to be making a return to the national side after a two-year absence.

Rory Arnold admits he never thought he’d pull on a Wallabies jersey again but after two years in the wilderness, the towering lock is now just hours away from a “surreal” return to the national side.

When the 6ft10 behemoth left Australia in 2019 to forge a career in French rugby, he thought he was kissing his days as a Wallaby goodbye, due to restrictions imposed by the “Giteau Law”.

The law, implemented in 2015, says expats can only represent the Wallabies if they’ve got 60 Test caps to their name.

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Arnold has played for the Wallabies only 26 times but relaxations to the rule during the Covid-19 pandemic have opened the door for him to return to the fray against Scotland on Monday morning (AEDT).

And he couldn’t be happier.

“I didn’t fit the criteria of the 60 caps and I thought I’d finished my Wallabies career,” Arnold told reporters in the lead-up to the second match of the Wallabies’ spring tour.

“I stepped away after the (2019) World Cup thinking it was all done and dusted, so it’s pretty surreal.

“It’s a good feeling.”

Arnold revealed that coach Dave Rennie had long been working behind the scenes to lure him back.

“(Rennie) reached out to me a couple times, just around whether I’d be interested,” he said.

“It’s nice to know that I was on (the Wallabies’) radar.

“I was close to returning a couple of times but I had injuries and I broke my arm so it didn’t really work out.”

Arnold isn’t the only veteran who’ll be back in action on Monday.

After leaving expats Samu Kerevi, Quade Cooper and Sean McMahon behind in Japan to prepare for the Top League pre-season, the Wallabies have added European-based players Will Skelton and Kurtley Beale to their stocks, as well as Arnold.

Beale has had to wait two years for a chance to play for the Wallabies again, while Skelton hasn’t lined up for the side since 2016.

Arnold says Skelton, who also plays lock, has been “killing it” at club level in the interim.

“He’s been going really well up here,” Arnold said.

“I’ve played him a few times and he’s been killing it. It’s good to see him back in the mix as well.”

It was widely reported in August that Rugby Australia was considering scrapping the Giteau Law, but Arnold said it was above his pay grade to weigh into the debate.

“That’s up for (Rugby Australia) to decide,” he said.

“I’ll always put my hand up to pull the jersey on but those decisions are up to people above me.

“We’ll see what happens.”




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