Dave Rennie’s latest national watchlist includes a slew of new Waratahs players, reflecting the New South Wales team’s rapid rise in form since the last squad was compiled back in April.
The ‘players of national interest’ squad gives a strong indication of who new head coach Rennie is considering for his first Wallabies squad of the year – which could be set to play matches against the All Blacks in October.
In April’s iteration, just three Waratahs were included. The latest edition sees 11 Waratahs earn selection – the second-highest representation behind the Brumbies.
The likes of young guns Angus Bell, Will Harrison and James Ramm have all fought their way onto the list, alongside the likes of Wallabies staples Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan and Jack Maddocks.
The Waratahs, currently sitting in third place on the Super Rugby AU ladder, recorded just a solitary win in the seven rounds of Super Rugby played prior to the season’s suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the squad as a whole there’s a solid mixture of youth and proven talent with the loose forwards looking particularly strong. Hooper is joined by the Reds trio of Liam Wright, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson, as well as Lachlan Swinton, Pete Samu, Rob Valetini and Isi Naisarani.
Sizeable Rebels prop Pone Fa’amausili is another new addition to the group, following some exceptional showings for the Melbourne side who are still in the running for a Super Rugby AU finals spot.
There’s still little indication as to who will be handed the playmaker reins come test season, with Harrison named alongside Matt To’omua, James O’Connor and injured Brumbies pivot Noah Lolesio.
While there are no Western Force players included in the squad, Rennie is understood to be interested in a number of their players, including the likes of Fergus Lee-Warner, Kyle Godwin and Brynard Stander.
Wallabies players of national interest:
Prop: Angus Bell (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), James Slipper (Brumbies), Harry Johnson-Holmes (Waratahs), Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Pone Fa’amausili (Rebels), Jermaine Ainsley (Rebels), Taniela Tupou (Reds)
Hooker: Folau Faingaa (Brumbies), Connal McInerney (Brumbies), Jordan Uelese (Rebels), Tom Horton (Waratahs)
Lock: Ned Hanigan (Waratahs), Rob Simmons (Waratahs), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Reds), Trevor Hosea (Rebels), Matt Philip (Rebels), Cadeyrn Neville (Brumbies)
Loose forward: Lachlan Swinton (Waratahs), Rob Valetini (Brumbies), Liam Wright (Reds), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), Fraser McReight (Reds), Harry Wilson (Reds), Pete Samu (Brumbies), Isi Naisarani (Rebels)
Halfback: Nic White (Brumbies), Jake Gordon (Waratahs), Tate McDermott (Reds)
First five: Matt To’omua (Rebels), Noah Lolesio (Brumbies), Will Harrison (Waratahs), James O’Connor (Reds)
Midfield: Reece Hodge (Rebels), Irae Simone (Brumbies), Jordan Petaia (Reds), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)
Outside backs: James Ramm (Waratahs), Tom Wright (Brumbies), Marika Koroibete (Rebels), Filipo Daugunu (Reds), Jack Maddocks (Waratahs), Dane Haylett-Petty (Rebels), Tom Banks (Brumbies)
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