Sekope Kepu could be back in the Wallabies line-up next weekend. Photo: Dave Hunt/AAP
Sekope Kepu could be back in the Wallabies line-up next weekend. Photo: Dave Hunt/AAP DAVE HUNT

More mature Kepu welcomed back by Wallabies

PROP Sekope Kepu is a good chance at lining up for Australia against England in Brisbane next Saturday night, despite the fact he will only join camp in the coming days.

Kepu was signed with Bordeaux until 2018 but the French side announced his release for family reasons.

The front-rower will link up with the Wallabies, who have been in camp in Caloundra, in the coming days under the 60-cap rule.

Kepu has missed recent Bordeaux matches with a shoulder injury but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said he was confident he would be fit to be considered for the first Test at Suncorp Stadium.

"It looks okay, but, of course, we'll have to check it out," Cheika said.

Cheika said he was excited by what Kepu could bring to the Australian scrum after learning how to hold his own against the best in France and Europe.

"What I like is he got the handle on it (scrummaging in Europe); he got the hang of it pretty quickly," Cheika said.

"That adaptation of that style is something Sekope hasn't maybe had before.

"He's learned to do that because he's a more mature person and a more mature player and understands what he needs to do to do well.

"It's going to be an adjustment being out of this type of shape for a year so we'll see how he gets here and how he runs into the team when he arrives."

The Waratahs announced Kepu had signed for three seasons (2017-19), after playing with them from 2008 to 2015 before his one-year stint in France.

"I'm delighted that Keps is returning to Australia, and happy to welcome him back to the Waratahs," NSW coach Daryl Gibson said. "He will be a great addition to the squad and will strengthen our front row options.

"I'm sure he would have grown from the experience in France, where there is a real scrum culture."

Meanwhile, utility back Reece Hodge left a strong impression on coaching staff and Wallabies training mates after he was only called into the 39-man squad as a replacement for injured Rebels teammate Mike Harris (hamstring).

"He's been really good, stepped in, has a maturity for his age," Wallabies vice- captain Michael Hooper said.

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