Wallaby coach John Connolly has asked George Gregan to “stand down” from Australia’s year-end tour.
Team spokesman Michael Earsman told the media that Connolly had asked the veteran scrum half to skip the November tour to Europe in order to have him “rested and refreshed” for next year’s World Cup.
Gregan will face South Africa in his 56th Test as captain in this weekend’s Vodacom Tri Nations match and will eclipse John Eales’ record in doing so.
According to Earsman, talks were at a preliminary stage and Gregan has been asked to “go away and provide some feedback,” but is yet to respond.
Despite recent calls for him to relinquish the captaincy entirely, Earsman said that he believed Connolly didn’t have a “strong agenda” for resting Gregan in the eight-match tour and said the coach believed he was “definitely the number one halfback and captain” for the team.
Connolly is keen to build a depth of talent in the team and keep his halfback options open.
The Sydney Morning Herald said if Gregan missed the tour, it would give Connolly the chance to try other promising halfbacks, including Australian U21 scrum half Josh Holmes and Sam Cordingley.