The Australian Rugby coach takes a high-risk gamble with the World Cup squad. There are possibly grave consequences as a result of the loosening of eligibility rules. For the second consecutive Rugby World Cup, the Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has taken a huge gamble by selecting just two halfbacks in his team.
Whereas boom Reds back Jordan Petaia, who is all of 19, will become the youngest Australian to ever appear in the World Cup. Cheika has taken the example of England coach Eddie Jones by selecting just two halfbacks. Nic White and Will Genia are the halfbacks in his 31-man squad. Brumbies No. 9 Joe Powell has been left out.
Wallabies Squad for Rugby World Cup 2019
Backs: Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jordan Petaia, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Will Genia.
Forwards: Isi Naisarani, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper (c), David Pocock, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Tolu Latu, Folau Fainga’a, Jordan Uelese.
Standby Wallabies squad members
Joe Powell, Tom Banks, Liam Wright, Luke Jones, Tatafu Polota-Nau
Check out England official squad for RWC 2019 here.
More about Australian Team Squad for Rugby World Cup 2019
Talk of Will Skelton who makes a late comeback from England. It was of no use as the giant lock was not included in the squad comprising of 17 forwards and 14 backs.
Eighteen players in the squad will be making their first World Cup appearance. But there is a total of 1406 Test caps in the squad, which is 399 more than England.
Unlike the previous edition of the World Cup, Cheika will play three hookers to the Land of the Rising Sun with Folau Fainga’a and Tolu Latu joined by Rebels rake Jordan Uelese, who is selected in place of veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Brumbies backrower Pete Samu has again been left out, with Jack Dempsey who is nursing a shoulder injury set to join Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Isi Naisarani in the squad. Captain of the team Michael Hooper and former skipper David Pocock are the two openside flankers. Liam Wright, who made his Test debut at Eden Park, failed to make the cut.
There are no surprises in the tight five with the men who played in the Bledisloe Cup retained. Veteran prop Sekope Kepu will provide cover on both sides of the scrum. And Tom Robertson missing out. Petaia was about to become the third-youngest player ever to be capped by Wallaby against Italy last year. But he squeezed his hamstring on the eve of the Test in Padova.
He is such a talent that two-time World Cup winner Tim Horan regarded him as a future great. Petaia will be taken in spite of playing not more than 100 minutes of Super Rugby in 2019 because of a Lisfranc foot injury. Petaia can play anyplace in the back three or at the outside center. At the other end of the experience field, 35-year-old Ashley Cooper will play in his fourth World Cup. He will become the second Australian, after George Gregan, to play at four World Cups.
James O’Connor will play in his second World Cup and make a notable comeback after returning from the retirement last month. Departing Brumbies great Christian Lealiifano will play in his first World Cup, while fellow playmakers Bernard Foley and Matt To’omua have been selected for their second.
Rebels captain and fullback Dane Haylett-Petty has been preferred in place of Brumbies star Tom Banks, who is unlucky to have missed out after his best season yet in the Super Rugby. The Wallabies have selected a lone specialist winger in the team in the form of Marika Koroibete. Haylett Petty, Ashley-Cooper, Petaia, and Reece Hodge the other options. Don’t miss out any RWC news and updates in the coming days.