He may be down a man, but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is still in no mood to recall out-of-favour playmaker Quade Cooper to his national side.

Cross-code star Karmichael Hunt is sidelined for two months with a leg injury, after lining up at inside centre for all three of Australia's June internationals against Scotland, Fiji and Italy.

And while Cooper missed selection for the squad preparing for the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship campaign, many assumed he would be first cab off the rank in event of injury.

They assumed wrong.


Cheika has confirmed that the enigmatic first-five must show form in the National Rugby Championship to earn a call-up.

"I'm comfortable where we are, because it doesn't change our dynamic of five-eighth," said Cheika. "I wouldn't be bringing anyone in for Karmichael - we've got quite a big squad.

"[Cooper] is having some holidays. His pathway will be through NRC and play there.

"I would have spoken to him face-to-face by then and had a chance to go through some of the things with him."

Hunt, 30, who has played international rugby and league for Australia, as well as three-year stint in the AFL, will target the Wallabies road swing through South Africa and Argentina in September/October for his return.

"He's very disappointed, but there's nothing you can do about it when the injury happens, you've got to get on with it. It makes an opportunity for someone else in the team now."

Kurtley Beale looms as the logical replacement for Hunt, although Reece Hodge and Billy Meakes are other options.

"It was always going to be an interesting dilemma, when that time came, but I had a few ideas and now it's changing," said Cheika. "We'll just see how the guys go over the next week or so - we've still got good options there."