Australia A’s Pacific Nations Cup campaign starts on Saturday against Samoa.

Brumbies halfback Ryan Lonergan has been appointed captain of Australia A for Saturday’s Pacific Nations Cup clash against Samoa in Suva.

Lonergan’s leadership qualities at Super Rugby Pacific level caught the eye of Australia A coach Jason Gilmore.

Supporting Lonergan will be two vice-captains – Queensland Reds flanker Fraser McReight and Melbourne Rebels fullback Reece Hodge.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with Ryan’s ability to lead his Brumbies side over their successful Super Rugby Pacific campaign,” Gilmore said.

“He’s certainly the right man for the job and pairing him in front of two already proven leaders in McReight and Hodge as vice captains builds us a pretty inspiring leadership group.”

Gilmore said a host of tough selections had to be made in settling on the squad for Saturday’ match.

“It just shows the extraordinary level of depth we currently have in Australian rugby and I think this competition will only yield successful results for the program,” he said.

“There are a lot of players who have a point to prove in this side and it’s going to be interesting to see how they play when they get the opportunity this Saturday.”

The 23-man squad is made up of eight Waratahs, six Reds, and three each from the Rebels, the Brumbies and the Western Force.

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said: “This is a very welcomed resumption of the Australia A program as we continue to build and develop our pathways and performances towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the golden decade ahead of us.

“All of these players have put their hands up during the Super Rugby Pacific competition this year.”

Australia A: Matt Gibbon, Billy Pollard, Tom Robertson, Seru Uru, Ryan Smith, Tim Anstee, Fraser McReight, Will Harris, Ryan Lonergan, Tane Edmed, Jock Campbell, Hamish Stewart, Lalakai Foketi, Mark Nawaqanitawase. Reece Hodge. Bench: Feleti Kaitu’u, Harry Hoopert, Archer Holz, Hugh Sinclair, Langi Gleeson, James Tuttle, Hudson Creighton, Dylan Pietsch.

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