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Wallabies Name 31-Man Squad For Rugby Championship Opener

Australia coach Michael Cheika has named his 31-man squad for the Wallabies’ opening Rugby Championship test against South Africa in Brisbane on July 18.

Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore captains the side and is joined in camp by uncapped lock Rory Arnold and Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Cheika’s squad will assemble in Brisbane this Sunday after a gruelling five-day camp up the Sunshine Coast as the Wallabies coach looks to begin preparations for their home opener next Saturday night.

Notable omissions from Cheika’s squad include Japan-bound number 8 Wycliff Palu, Brumbies duo Nic White and Christian Lealiifano and Waratahs captain Dave Dennis.

Uncapped players Samu Kerevi and Toby Smith also drop out the squad, with Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell retained. James Hanson, Tetera Faulkner and Henry Speight round out the remaining players cut from Cheika’s preliminary squad as the former Leinster coach was left with some tough decisions to make.

“There were obviously some really tough calls to make. The players who have not been named in this 31-man squad will still remain part of the group and will continue to contribute. We have also taken the opportunity to rest players, as we know it is going to be a long international season,” Cheika told Australian Rugby’s official website.

“I have had a good chance to test some combinations and see some players in a high intensity environment. It’s given me great confidence knowing we’re establishing some depth in key positions.

“There’s a certain thing about Queensland and how they support their teams, and in particular the Wallabies. Every time you go to Suncorp Stadium there’s always an energy and plenty of gold around the ground, and I know that will be no different for the Springboks game.”

Players not travelling with the squad to Brisbane will remain part of the Wallabies’ wider training squad, and will continue training with their respective Super Rugby teams.

Selected players will join the squad in Sydney in the lead-up to the Wallabies’ first Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand in Sydney on August 8.

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31-Man Wallabies Squad

Rory Arnold (Brumbies)*
Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs)
Kurtley Beale (Waratahs)
Quade Cooper (Reds)
Scott Fardy (Brumbies)
Israel Folau (Waratahs)
Bernard Foley (Waratahs)
Will Genia (Reds)
Matt Giteau (Toulon)
Scott Higginbotham (Rebels)
Greg Holmes (Reds)
Michael Hooper (Waratahs)
Rob Horne (Waratahs)
James Horwill (Reds)
Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)
Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)
Stephen Moore – Captain (Brumbies)
Drew Mitchell (Toulon)
Ben McCalman (Force)
Sean McMahon (Rebels)
Dean Mumm (Waratahs)
Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs)*
Nick Phipps (Waratahs)
David Pocock (Brumbies)
Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs)
Scott Sio (Brumbies)
Rob Simmons (Reds)
Will Skelton (Waratahs)
James Slipper (Reds)
Matt Toomua (Brumbies)
Joe Tomane (Brumbies)

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Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

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