Japan-bound Wallabies fullback Tom Banks has been urged to make an irresistible case for World Cup selection.

Former Wallabies fullback Chris Latham has urged Brumbies custodian Tom Banks to make it impossible for national coach Dave Rennie to leave him out of Australia’s World Cup squad – even if he jeopardises his selection chances by playing club rugby in Japan next year.

A favourite of Rennie’s, Brisbane-born Banks will again wear the Wallabies’ No.15 jersey on Saturday night when Australia hosts England at Perth’s Optus Stadium.

However, 28-year-old Banks is no certainty to be the Wallabies’ fullback at the 2023 World Cup, following reports he will leave Australia at end of the year to start a $2.8 million two-year deal with a Japan Top League club,

Under current “Giteau Law” rules, only three players who are not contracted to Rugby Australia can be named in a Wallabies squad, provided they have played 30 Tests.

For this month’s series against England, the three are fly half Quade Cooper, centre Samu Kerevi and winger Marika Koroibete, who are all based in Japan.

However, Latham – who made 78 Wallabies appearances between 1998 and 2007 – felt Banks was good enough to be among the overseas-based trio in Australia’s World Cup squad, if the current eligibility rules remained in place.

“He has got the performances behind him and has been outstanding for the Brumbies,” Latham said of Banks, who will reach the 30-Test mark, provided he plays enough of Australia’s Tests this year.

“He has set himself up with a really good Super Rugby Pacific season, to now take that form and go up another level to really cement himself in that Wallabies’ No.15 jersey for years to come.

“He’s got an opportunity this year to cement himself and prove himself to be valid for what the rules are now. and that’s three internationals.

“He’s got to make sure he’s one of the three players the Wallabies need to come in for the World Cup.

“Not only is he fighting for the fullback position, he’s fighting for a World Cup spot.”

The Wallabies bench on Saturday night includes Queensland Reds excitement machine Jordan Petaia, who is also in contention to be Australia’s World Cup fullback.

“Jordy’s definitely got the skills, got the potential and got the game, but he’s probably lacking that consistency for Dave Rennie at Test match level,” former Queensland star Latham said.

“While he’s played some unbelievable rugby at times, Test match rugby’s a different beast. You need to be consistent with those performances.”

Petaia is the only Reds player in the Wallabies’ 23-man first Test squad.
Latham sympathised with Queensland halfback Tate McDermott, who was a surprise omission from the 23, with Rennie preferring the Brumbies’ Nic White in the No.9 jersey, and the Waratahs’ Jake Gordon as the back-up half on the bench

“I feel for Tate. I thought he did extremely well throughout the year (for the Reds), but it’s a very tight competition for that spot,” Latham said.

“You’ve got three really good No.9s competing for the position, and that puts Australian rugby in a very healthy position. It’s a very positive thing to have.”

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