Dave Rennie looks intent on ushering in a new generation of Wallabies after naming just 16 of the 31 picked for last year’s World Cup in his first squad on Sunday.
The new coach included eight Super Rugby rookies but, in an expanded 44-man squad, there was no room for Jack Dempsey, Isi Naisarani or Tevita Kuridani.
No.8 Naisarani had been one of the Rebels best this season, while centre Kuridrani had been in and out of the Brumbies’ top side this season.
Dempsey is the other World Cup tourist still playing in Australia omitted, while Waratahs teammate Karmichael Hunt was another notable absence.
Retirement and player movement abroad has also contributed to the clean-out that will see 16 uncapped players compete for spots to play the All Blacks in two New Zealand Tests next month before a Rugby Championship on home soil.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 11, 2020
The squad, so large because biosecurity measures, will prohibit any late additions, has an average age of just 24 and includes prospects like Queensland Reds No.8 Harry Wilson (20), who has shone in his first Super Rugby season.
He is one of 11 Reds selected alongside 13 from the league-leading Brumbies, 11 Waratahs and nine Rebels.
Lachie Swinton, Fraser McReight, Hunter Paisami, Pone Fa’amausili and James Ramm are other fresh faces gunning for their maiden Test cap.
Lock Rob Simmons (31) has retained his place in the side and is the only man to have played 100 Tests in the squad, while incumbent captain Michael Hooper and 96-Test prop will also face challenges from their younger squad members.
Rebels trio Matt Toomua (groin), Dane Haylett-Petty (groin) and Jordan Uelese (shoulder) have all been included as they await scans on their respective injuries suffered in Saturday’s qualifying final loss to the Reds.
The full squad will convene next Monday following the Super Rugby AU Final between the Brumbies and Queensland Reds on Saturday night.
Space has also been left for two overseas-based player s in his side not previously eligible under Rugby Australia’s qualification laws to play after a tweak to the rules last week.
“This is a really exciting day for us,” Rennie said.
“We’ve picked this squad on form and on potential and I know the whole group are chomping at the bit to get stuck in and push their case for a Wallaby jersey.
“There’s a big game to come on Saturday night down in Canberra but personally, I’m really looking forward to getting out on the grass in a week’s time to start putting in the work together.”
WALLABIES SQUAD: Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell*, Filipo Daugunu*, Pone Fa’amausili*, Folau Fainga’a, Jake Gordon, Ned Hanigan, Will Harrison*, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Tom Horton*, Trevor Hosea*, Len Ikitau*, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio* , Jack Maddocks, Tate McDermott*, Fraser McReight*, James O’Connor, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Hunter Paisami*, Jorda n Petaia, Matt Philip, Joe Powell, James Ramm*, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Irae Simone*,Scott Sio, James Slipper, Lachie Swinton*,Matt To’omua,Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese, Rob Valetini,Nic White, Harry Wilson*, Liam Wright,Tom Wright*. (* denotes uncapped player)
– Murray Wenzel
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