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McMeniman starts road back to Wallabies

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On the road back ... Hugh McMeniman.

On the road back ... Hugh McMeniman. Photo: Craig Golding

Fearless Western Force forward Hugh McMeniman will take his first step toward a Wallaby recall when he returns to Super Rugby against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night.

McMeniman is set to start in the Force pack for their AAMI Park clash to open the Super season.

Force coach Michael Foley will look to McMeniman to lead by example against the Rebels, particularly in the absence of injured skipper Matt Hodgson and the loss of Wallabies duo Nathan Sharpe (retirement) and David Pocock (Brumbies).

The 29-year-old spent the past three years season in Japan after shoulder and knee injuries over five seasons limited his playing time to just 29 appearances for the Reds and 21 Test caps.

Force coach Michael Foley said the 114kg powerhouse had the ability to play for the Wallabies again, with Test coach Robbie Deans seemingly agreeing by including him in the train-on squad last month.

"Nothing's changed too much about Hugh," said Foley.

"He's a couple of years older but he's still the guy who plays with unbelievable fearlessness.

"He has almost no regard for his body, which we've tried to temper a little bit but once he gets on the field there's no hesitation."

Foley worked with McMeniman back in 2007 as a Wallabies assistant and he said the time he spent in Japan had given him a real hunger to play again.

"What's impressed me more than anything now is his level of professionalism," he said.

"I think he maybe used to cut a few corners in terms of his preparation and doing all the things to get his body right.

"Now he has a real hunger to test himself and play for Australia again."

AAP

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