Video: Wallabies boss Rennie opts for form over experience
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has gone with form over reputation, including 11 uncapped players in his 38-man squad to take on France in a three-Test series next month.
Michael Hooper has returned from Japan to captain the side, with the first Test to be played in Sydney on July 7, followed by Melbourne and Brisbane – the entire series to be completed in just 11 days.
The biggest change has come at hooker, with only Queensland’s Brandon Paenga-Amosa remaining from last year’s Rugby Championship.
Brumbies rake Lachlan Lonergan and Feleti Kaitu’u from the Western Force are the new faces, with regulars Folau Fainga’a and Jordan Uelese axed.
Kaitu’u is one of two Force players named, joined by 34-year-old lock Sitaleki Timani, whose last Test match was back in 2013.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) June 13, 2021
Melbourne lock Matt Philip, who has been playing in France, has also been included, along with young, uncapped Brumbies second-rower Darcy Swain.
The Brumbies have the most representatives with 12, with nine from the Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels, and six NSW Waratahs despite their winless year, with halfback Jake Gordon included despite being sidelined with a knee injury.
Powerful NSW centre Izaia Perese was named however he may be ruled out after suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder against the Chiefs on Saturday night.
His firebrand teammate, flank Lachie Swinton, could also miss the series after receiving a red card in the match.
Melbourne’s utility back Reece Hodge has overcome a knee injury to take his place.
Rebels wing Andrew Kellaway only arrived back in Australia from Japan a month ago, but did enough in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman to catch the eye of Rennie.
With an average age of 25, as well as having 11 uncapped players, the squad includes a further 14 who have played less than 10 Tests.
“We’ve picked this squad on form and on potential, and I know the whole group will be really excited to get stuck in and push their case for a Wallaby jersey against France,” Rennie said.
“Obviously the squad is a bit bigger than what we would normally have but we had to consider how we will handle the rigours of the series.”
The uncapped players are Pone Fa’amausili, Lalakai Foketi, Ikitau, Kaitu’u, Kellaway, Rob Leota, Lonergan, Andy Muirhead, Perese, Swain and Michael Wells.
Wallabies: Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell, Filipo Daugunu, Pone Fa’amausili, Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper (captain), Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu’u, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, Rob Leota, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Andy Muirhead, Isi Naisarani, James O’Connor, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachie Swinton, Sitaleki Timani, Matt To’omua, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Michael Wells, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.