Wallabies name World Cup squad

Australia have today named their squad for next month's World Cup. [more]

Wallabies name World Cup squad

Australia have today named their squad for next month’s World Cup.

The Lions’ next opponents have made the announcement four days before the August 22 deadline as they prepare for their final Tri Nations fixture against the All Blacks a week on Saturday.

Matt Giteau is the highest profile absentee, with the experienced utility back missing out to the likes of Pat McCabe and Berrick Barnes for an inside centre cum fly-half spot.

Giteau’s exclusion, although not wholly unexpected, is likely to be one of the major talking points of Robbie Deans’ selection, as is his decision to hand the captain’s armband previously held by Rocky Elsom to Reds skipper James Horwill.

Drew Mitchell is named in the 30-man party despite having seen his chances initially written off after breaking his ankle earlier in the season. The Waratahs wing is joined in the squad by fellow injury victims Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Wycliff Palu, Barnes and Horne, who all came through yesterday’s fitness test, although prop Benn Robinson admitted defeat to an ACL tear on Tuesday.

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“It was critical that we provided ourselves with cover for every conceivable eventuality in terms of injury,” said Deans.

“Looking at every scenario imaginable, and how that impacted on the squad, and our ability to still field a combination suited to the way we want to play, was a critical part of the selection process.

“We are fortunate to boast a lot of versatility amongst our backs especially but given the tournament regulations around replacements; additional cover at halfback and hooker was non-negotiable.”

Squad newcomer Nick Phipps provides scrum-half back up to Will Genia alongside Luke Burgess, with Anthony Faingaa joining Horne and McCabe in midfield and Barnes covering the No12 position as well as Quade Cooper’s No10 shirt.

With utility back James O’Connor a firm favourite to start on the wing, Deans has named just one full back in Kurtley Beale, with Mark Gerrard the man to miss out.

Radike Samo is included as a lock cum back row after being recalled to the Tri Nations squad for the first time in seven seasons, while Cambridge University Blue and long-time absentee Dan Vickerman will also be on the plane to New Zealand.

Australia World Cup squad

Backs – Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Drew Mitchell, Digby Ioane, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Anthony Faingaa, Berrick Barnes, Quade Cooper, Nick Phipps, Luke Burgess, Will Genia

Forwards – Ben McCalman, Radike Samo, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom, Scott Higginbotham, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, Nathan Sharpe, Dan Vickerman, Ben Alexander, Sekope Kepu, James Slipper, Salesi Ma'afu, Stephen Moore, Saia Faingaa, Tatafu Polota-Nau

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