Rugby: Wallabies coach Dave Rennie names 11 rookies in 38-man squad against France

Lock Sitaleki Timani has returned to the Wallabies set-up after eight years in self-imposed exile, as Australia coach Dave Rennie named a bumper 38-man squad for next month's three-test series against France.

Rennie has named 11 uncapped players in his squad, which is enlarged to mitigate for the compressed timeframe of the series with three tests in 10 days.

Five of those are in the backline, where stocks have been depleted by injuries to Dane Haylett-Petty, Jordan Petaia and high-profile rugby league convert Suliasi Vunivalu.

Playmaker James O'Connor has recovered from a neck injury to take his place in the squad and flanker Michael Hooper returns from a sabbatical in Japan to captain the side.

"We've picked this squad on form and on potential, and I know the whole group is really excited to get stuck in and push their case for a Wallaby jersey against France," Rennie says.

Timani played the last of his 18 tests against Scotland on the November tour in 2013, before heading off to play club rugby in France for Montpellier and Clermont.

The 34-year-old returned at the end of last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and signed for the Perth-based Western Force, making him eligible to play for his country again.

Matt Philip also returns to bolster the second-row stocks, after his breakout test season last year and a short spell in France.

Sent off on debut against the All Blacks last year, abrasive NSW Waratahs loose forward Lachie Swinton was included, despite also being shown a red card in the final Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match on Saturday.

Waratahs teammate Izaia Perese is among the uncapped backs named in the squad, despite sustaining a shoulder injury on Saturday.

Melbourne Rebels back Andrew Kellaway and loose forward clubmate Michael Wells are among the more surprising inclusions, along with Perese's Waratahs centre partner, Lalakai Foketi.

The France series starts in Sydney on July 7, before matches in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Australia squad: Backs - Tom Banks, Filipo Daugunu, Lalakai Foketi*, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Len Ikitau*, Andrew Kellaway*, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, Andy Muirhead*, James O'Connor, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese*, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Tom Wright.

Forwards - Allan Alaalatoa, Angus Bell, Pone Faamausili*, Michael Hooper (captain), Feleti KaituΓÇÖu*, Rob Leota*, Lachlan Lonergan*, Fraser McReight, Isi Naisarani, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain*, Lachie Swinton, Sitaleki Timani, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Michael Wells*, Harry Wilson.