A host of new faces were called up by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika Wednesday for a training squad ahead of their clash with New Zealand, but Quade Cooper and Scott Higginbotham were left out.
Cheika selected 38 players from the Queensland Reds, Western Force, NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels, with the Super Rugby finals-bound ACT Brumbies excluded.
They included first-timers Jermaine Ainsley, Sef Fa’agase, Adam Korczyk, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese, Marika Koroibete, Campbell Magnay, Billy Meakes, Izaia Perese and Curtis Rona.
Kurtley Beale is back in the frame for the first time since the 2015 World Cup, but there was no room for fly-half Cooper (70 Tests) or No.8 Higginbotham (34 Tests) in a sign that their international careers could be over.
“We have a lot of work to get done between now and August 19 when we play New Zealand in Sydney,” said Cheika.
“That work started in June, we tried to maintain some of that throughout the last rounds of Super Rugby and now we start to take it up a level.”
The extended squad will head into a week-long strength and conditioning camp initially with the numbers slimmed down closer to the Test match.
“We want all of these guys to be very clear on what the trademarks are of the Wallabies game and then be equipped and ready to deliver it when asked to enter the arena for Australia,” Cheika added.
“That is what our objective will be over the next couple of weeks and I can’t wait to get stuck into it.”
Australia squad: Jermaine Ainsley, Adam Coleman, Pek Cowan, Jack Dempsey, Kane Douglas, Sef Fa’agase, Tetera Faulkner, Ned Hanigan, Richard Hardwick, Michael Hooper, Sekope Kepu, Adam Korczyk, Tolu Latu, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore (capt), Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lopeti Timani, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese. Backs: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Campbell Magnay, Billy Meakes, Eto Nabuli, Sefa Naivalu, Izaia Perese, Nick Phipps, Curtis Rona.
– Agence France-Presse