Massive Punt On Teenage Wallaby As Rugby World Cup Squad Announced
These are the 31 men who will try to get the job done in Japan.
And as the cliché goes, selectors have gone for a classic blend of youth and experience as the Wallabies World Cup squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup was announced in Sydney today.
The squad, captained by Michael Hooper with Samu Kerevi as his deputy, boasts 1406 caps of Test experience, 200 more than the squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The big talking point at the young end of the age scale is Jordan Petaia, the uncapped 19-year-old Queensland Reds player who will become our youngest ever player at the tournament.
At the other end of the scale, versatile backline veteran Adam Ashley Cooper gets a gig, at age 35, and with 118 Wallabies caps to his name. He'll be just the second Aussie after George Gregan to play at four Rugby World Cups.
"We’ve become a really tight group and it was a very difficult process in picking only 31 players, but I know each player selected will travel to Japan with the full support of those team mates who won’t board the flight," Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said.
"We have worked really hard at building each week and each game so far this season, and play a brand of Rugby that Australia would be proud of and get every player contributing towards the outcome.
"It’s also important that we select a squad that will handle the tournament play and our draw in particular at the Rugby World Cup, as well as maintain a strong competition for places in the team.
"These next few weeks are about building and adding that little extra edge as a squad and we'll be working hard to make sure we deliver on the qualities we want people to see when we run out on the field in Japan."
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The full squad, including each player's Super Rugby side and age, is as follows:
ForwardsAllan Alaalatoa (34 Tests, Brumbies, 25)* Rory Arnold (22 Tests , Brumbies, 29)* Adam Coleman (33 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)* Jack Dempsey (11 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)* Folau Fainga’a (11 Tests, Brumbies, 24)* Michael Hooper (c) (95 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 27) Sekope Kepu (105 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 33) Tolu Latu (15 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)* Isi Naisarani (4 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)* David Pocock (77 Tests, Brumbies, 31) Izack Rodda (21 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)* Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (15 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)* Rob Simmons (97 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30) Scott Sio (58 Tests, Brumbies, 27) James Slipper (90 Tests, Brumbies, 30) Taniela Tupou (15 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)* Jordan Uelese (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 22)*
BacksAdam Ashley-Cooper (118 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 35) Kurtley Beale (87 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30) Bernard Foley (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29) Will Genia (104 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 31) Dane Haylett-Petty (32 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)* Reece Hodge (37 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)* Samu Kerevi (vc) (29 Tests, Queensland Reds, 25)* Marika Koroibete (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 27)* Tevita Kuridrani (60 Tests, Brumbies, 28) Christian Lealiifano (22 Tests, Brumbies, 31)* James O’Connor (47 Tests, Queensland Reds, 29) Jordan Petaia (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 19)* Matt Toomua (46 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29) Nic White (26 Tests, Rugby Australia, 29)* *Uncapped at a Rugby World Cup
The Wallabies pool matches at RWC 2019:
- Wallabies v Fiji at Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan, Saturday 21 September at 2.45pm AEST
- Wallabies v Wales at Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo, Sunday 29 September at 5.45pm AEST
- Wallabies v Uruguay at Oita Bank Dome, Oita, Saturday 5 October at 3.15pm AEST
- Wallabies v Georgia at Shizuoka Stadium, Shizuoka, Friday 11 October at 9.15pm AEST