Sydney (AP) – Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has named seven uncapped players, including former league stars Curtis Rona and Marika Koroibete, in a 34-man squad for the first Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup test against New Zealand.
Rona and Western Force midfield partner Billy Meakes, winger Koroibete and Queensland Reds three-quarter Izaia Perese, lock Izack Rodda, backrower Adam Korczyk and hooker Jordan Ueelse are the newcomers in a squad partially shaped by injuries. Ueelse, considered the most surprising selection, wins a callup for the Aug. 19 test as Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu is out with a neck injury.
Locks Rob Simmons and Kane Douglas return to the squad after missing June test matches against Fiji, Scotland and Italy while Brumbies lock and captain Sam Carter has missed selection.
Center Kurtley Beale and Samu Kerevi return from injuries and Force prop Tetera Faulkner, who played two tests in 2014, has been recalled.
Flanker Sean McMahon also returns to the Wallabies squad for the test at Sydney, forcing the omission of Richard Hardwick who performed well in the June internationals.
Scrumhalf Will Genia and flyhalf Bernard Foley have been named vice-captains, deputizing for captain Michael Hooper.
“Will and Bernard are starting to find their voice as real leaders within the team and will be valuable assets to the captain in Michael,” Cheika said. “They have been selected because both of them are hungry to win and are prepared to keep both themselves and their team to the high standards required to take the Wallabies to be the best.”
Genia has been both captain and vice-captain in previous Wallabies teams but not since the 2015 World Cup.
“I really love this Wallabies team and love any chance I get to wear the gold jersey but to be named vice-captain really is an honor,” Genia said.
Foley is elevated to the vice-captaincy for the first time in his 45-test career.
“It’s a huge personal honor to be vice-captain of this team and I am looking forward to working with all the leaders in this team to ensure the Wallabies elevate to the best we possibly can be,” he said. “(Hooper) is a remarkable leader and I believe with the other leaders in the team we can complement his style and assist him in that responsibility.”
Australia squad: Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Kane Douglas, Tetera Faulkner, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Adam Korczyk, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Lopeti Timani, Jordan Uelese. Backs: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge,
Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Billy Meakes, Izaia Perese Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Henry Speight.