Wallabies

Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has announced a strong 32-man squad for the 2014 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.

The squad, minus those players participating in the Super Rugby Final, will assemble on Sunday 3 August to begin the Qantas Wallabies’ week-long Bush2Bledisloe regional road trip across Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst and Penrith.

Members of the Qantas Wallabies squad taking part in the Super Rugby Final will join the team in Bathurst on Wednesday 6 August.

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“It’s extremely pleasing to know we will have one Australian province in the Super Rugby Final and I wish both the NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies the best of luck for their clash on Saturday,” McKenzie said.

“It has been captivating to follow their respective journeys throughout 2014 and I’m confident their efforts – along with those of the Force, Rebels and Reds – will have a positive influence when the Test season begins.”

The 32-man squad, captained by openside flanker Michael Hooper, boasts a combined total of 781 Test appearances and includes players from all five Super Rugby provinces – NSW Waratahs (11), ACT Brumbies (11), Queensland Reds (4), Western Force (4) and the Melbourne Rebels (2).

It also includes 25 players who earned at least one Test cap during the recent series clean sweep over France, along with a further five players who took part as squad members during the three-game campaign.

The only two players in the current squad not involved at any point during the France Series were ACT Brumbies pair Ben Alexander and Joe Tomane.  Both were unavailable for Test selection in June due to injury.

ACT Brumbies winger Henry Speight, who is the only uncapped member of the squad, will miss the opening three games of the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship before becoming eligible to represent Australia from September 11.

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McKenzie said the familiarity of the squad would be beneficial ahead of the opening Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday 16 August.

“We’ve come a long way as a group over the past 12 months and the consistency we’re now applying across selections, high-performance behaviours and our playing style is a positive sign that we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

“The challenge for us now is to continue this consistency throughout the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship, beginning with a Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand.

“We understand a great deal of attention going into the match will be around the All Blacks and their motivation to create a new piece of history by winning a world-record 18 consecutive games.

“For us, it’s no secret that our desire to win back the Bledisloe Cup grows every year, but if our attention isn’t focused on the right areas during our preparations then it will be easy to get caught looking too far ahead.

“We recognise that and will have a clear understanding of how we are going to approach and prepare for the opening game.”

Players who have not been considered for selection due to injury include, but is not limited to, hooker Stephen Moore (knee), flankers David Pocock (knee) and Dave Dennis (knee), scrumhalf Will Genia (ankle), flyhalf Quade Cooper (shoulder), centre Kyle Godwin (knee) and outside back Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder).

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The Qantas Wallabies are currently enjoying a winning streak of their own with their seven consecutive victories an accomplishment last achieved by an Australian team in 1999/2000.

In the lead-up to the Bledisloe Cup, the Qantas Wallabies will also embark on a five-day road trip through regional NSW.

The Bush2Bledisloe initiative is the brainchild of coach Ewen McKenzie and will bring passionate NSW Rugby supporters closer to the national team than ever before with a range of community activities planned during each stage of the tour.

Fans in Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst and Penrith will get a unique opportunity to meet their Qantas Wallabies heroes as part of open training and fan activity sessions, and will also get the chance to see and hold the prestigious Bledisloe Cup.

The Qantas Wallabies squad for the 2014 Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship is:

Player State Age Test Caps
PROP
Ben Alexander ACT Brumbies 29 62
Pek Cowan Western Force 28 7
Sekope Kepu NSW Waratahs 28 41
Scott Sio ACT Brumbies 22 5
James Slipper Queensland Reds 25 52
HOOKER
Nathan Charles Western Force 25 2
James Hanson Queensland Reds 25 1
Tatafu Polota-Nau NSW Waratahs 28 49
LOCK
Sam Carter ACT Brumbies 24 1
James Horwill Queensland Reds 29 51
Rob Simmons Queensland Reds 25 40
Will Skelton NSW Waratahs 22 1
BACKROW
Scott Fardy ACT Brumbies 30 13
Scott Higginbotham Melbourne Rebels 27 24
Matt Hodgson Western Force 33 6
Michael Hooper (c) NSW Waratahs 22 31
Ben McCalman Western Force 26 32
Wycliff Palu NSW Waratahs 31 51
SCRUMHALF
Luke Burgess Melbourne Rebels 30 37
Nick Phipps NSW Waratahs 25 17
Nic White ACT Brumbies 24 13
FLYHALF
Kurtley Beale NSW Waratahs 25 42
Bernard Foley NSW Waratahs 24 7
CENTRE
Tevita Kuridrani ACT Brumbies 23 11
Christian Leali’ifano ACT Brumbies 26 13
Matt Toomua ACT Brumbies 24 13
BACK-THREE
Adam Ashley-Cooper NSW Waratahs 30 94
Henry Speight ACT Brumbies 26 Uncapped
Israel Folau NSW Waratahs 25 18
Rob Horne NSW Waratahs 24 16
Pat McCabe ACT Brumbies 26 22
Joe Tomane ACT Brumbies 24 9

 

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