Kyle Godwin forces his way into Wallabies side
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has shown his immense regard for luckless centre Kyle Godwin by rushing the Western Force young gun into his Rugby Championship squad.
Godwin, who is yet to return from a long-term knee injury, is now a shock outside chance of making a hometown test debut against South Africa next week at Patersons Stadium.
McKenzie included the 22-year-old, along with injured hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, in a revised 30-man squad for Australia's upcoming home clashes with the Springboks and Argentina.
The Wallabies coach had been poised to call up Zimbabwe-born Godwin before last year's spring tour and this year's France series until shoulder and knee injuries struck.
The former Australian under-20s five-eighth's latest problem, a torn posterior cruciate ligament, has seen him sidelined for more than three months but it hasn't stopped McKenzie making the surprise selection.
A stunned Godwin did not see the call-up coming.
''It's still sinking in to be honest,'' he said. ''It was certainly a surprise.
''It's obviously a great feeling and I'm very thankful to Ewen for the opportunity. It's a great chance to learn a lot off a squad of experienced and senior players.''
With Pat McCabe set to announce his retirement due to a career-ending neck injury, and lingering hamstring problems for Henry Speight and Joe Tomane, McKenzie has chosen to add a another centre rather than winger to his squad.
Godwin will now battle with Waratahs flyer Peter Betham and Christian Leali'ifano for a possible bench spot against the Boks.
''Kyle is someone who has been on the national radar for some time, but unfortunately hasn't had much of an opportunity to join the Wallabies environment due to injury,'' McKenzie said.
''He now gets his chance to join the squad, and we'll look forward to learning more about him.''
Polota-Nau's return comes as Nathan Charles is the latest rake struck down by Australia's hooker curse, ruled out for the rest of the year with a pectoral strain sustained in the 51-20 drubbing by the All Blakcs.
The 49-test rake injured his knee in the NSW Waratahs' Super Rugby final triumph on August 2, and is at least another two weeks away from playing.
With Polota-Nau unavailable for Saturday week's clash with the Springboks, fourth-stringer James Hanson is set to start against South Africa.
McKenzie is looking for his team to get back on track after the All Blacks' Eden Park demolition job undid eight unbeaten matches of good work.
''We don't hide from the fact that our performance against New Zealand was well below our own expectations, which was especially disappointing considering the momentum we had created since last year's spring tour,'' he said.
Backs - Israel Folau, Peter Betham, Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Kyle Godwin, Christian Leali'ifano, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Nick Phipps, Luke Burgess.
Forwards - Wycliff Palu, Ben McCalman, Michael Hooper (capt), Matt Hodgson, Scott Higginbotham, Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Sam Carter, Will Skelton, Sekope Kepu, Ben Alexander, James Slipper, Pek Cowan, James Hanson, Saia Fainga'a, Tatafu Polota-Nau.