Fourteen uncapped players will join the Wallabies’ first training squad for 2021, coach Dave Rennie said on Sunday, as the squad begin preparations for scheduled tests against France this summer.
The 40-man squad will attend a three-day training camp on the Gold Coast next month in preparation for the international season to kick off in July.
Notable uncapped players on the team include Australian seven-a-side star Tim Anstee, who joined the Western Force from AU Super Rugby this season, and former Junior Wallabies hooker Lachlan Lonergan.
New Queensland Reds signing Suliasi Vunivalu, a former rugby league wing who played for Melbourne Storm as they won the NRL Grand Final last season, also made the cut.
The oldest member is second-line forward Sitaleki Timani, 34, who returns to the national fold for the first time since 2013, while lock Brumbies Cadeyrn Neville hopes to make his Test debut this year at 32. years.
Many of those heading to camp are younger players, with an average age squad of 25, as Rennie looks to develop his talents ahead of the 2023 World Cup.
The coach said the selections were “an indication of form and an indication of potential”.
“The backbone of the Wallabies is there and it’s just an opportunity to learn a little bit more about other guys,” he said at a press conference.
Three whores who played in last year’s tests – Folau Fainga’a, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Jordan Uelese – have been excluded from the squad.
Rennie said it was “a position in which we need to create more depth”, but stressed that the team is not a Wallabies team, which will be selected in June.
“It’s a little message for those not on the list to keep working hard and improving because some spots are quite competitive,” he said.
“There’s still a window for the guys to get through. ”
Captain Michael Hooper has also been left out as he currently plays in Japan.
The Wallabies coaching team: Allan Alaalatoa, Tim Anstee, Tom Banks, Angus Bell, Filipo Daugunu, Pone Fa’amausili, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Trevor Hosea, Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu’u, Josh Kemeny, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Alex Mafi, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Andy Muirhead, Isi Naisarani, Cadeyrn Neville, James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, David Porecki, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Pete Samu, Irae Simone , James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachlan Swinton, Sitaleki Timani, Matt To’omua, Taniela Tupou, Seru Uru, Rob Valetini, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.
© 2021 AFP