Rebels lock ready for recall to Wallabies to face Wales

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto says he will be ready to answer a call from Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt, despite missing the back half of the Super Rugby Pacific season.

The Melbourne lock had a pin inserted in his foot after fracturing it in mid-April and had hoped to make his return this weekend if the Rebels made the semi-finals.

They were eliminated by the Hurricanes last Saturday, but the 27-year-old said he would be fit for Australia's July two-Test series against Wales and a one-off match against Georgia.

It was no coincidence that Melbourne's dip in form coincided with the injury to Salakaia-Loto, who was regularly among their best players.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.
Before his injury, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was regularly one of the Rebels' best players.

Forming a promising line-out with youngster Josh Canham, Salakaia-Loto's work-rate and general presence around the field helped put the Rebels on the front foot.

Before joining the now defunct Rebels, Salakaia-Loto spent last year with English club Northampton, which he said helped him evolve as a player and person after nine seasons with Queensland.

Also able to shift into the back row, Salakaia-Loto played a match for Australia A last year but missed World Cup selection.

He said he was hungry to add to his 30 Tests under Schmidt, who has replaced Eddie Jones as Wallabies coach.

"I haven't heard from him (Joe), but my thing is just to get back healthy and playing, as I haven't played in eight or nine weeks," Salakaia-Loto told AAP.

"I think if you ask anyone the question they would answer the same, that of course they're good, but I don't want to do the jersey any disservice.

"Hopefully I can get some minutes into the legs, whether that be club rugby or whatever, I'm sure I will find a way to get some footy."

Salakaia-Loto had signed a two-year deal with Melbourne and had settled in with his wife and two daughters, so was saddened to have to find a new club.

"Not yet, still just figuring it all out and digesting what's happened at the Rebels," he said when asked of his future plans.

Players from Melbourne and Queensland, who also made a quarter-final exit, have this week off, then some will begin training in their states next week as part of an extended Wallabies train-on squad.

There is a group of 16 from the Western Force and NSW Waratahs training in Sydney this week.

Schmidt is set to whittle down those players and announce his first squad if the Brumbies are eliminated from Super Rugby Pacific, with the semi-finals this weekend.

The squad will assemble in Brisbane from June 24, with the first Test against Wales at Sydney's Allianz Stadium on July 6.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store