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Folau joins Players at Qantas Wallabies Assembly

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By Qantas Wallabies Media Unit

High profile NSW Waratahs recruit Israel Folau is one of 30 players who will assemble on Sunday afternoon as part of a Qantas Wallabies logistical exercise.

The players are getting together in Sydney to conclude off-field requirements and team planning ahead of this year’s highly anticipated British & Irish Lions tour of Australia.

Although not an official Wallabies squad the selection, which features seven uncapped players, does reward a number of players who have shown strong form in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

The front-running Brumbies are indicative of that, with 11 members of the Australian Conference leader’s squad included.

Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says the gathering, which concludes on Monday afternoon, will allow the players to complete the team’s pre-Lions commercial obligations, with some specific rugby-related planning also part of the assembly.

He said exclusion from the selection “did not” rule players out of participation in the Lions Test series, adding that a “wide net” had been spread through the three logistics camps held, with 50 players in attendance in January, while 30 gathered at the second two-day assembly in February.

The inclusion of seven uncapped players in this latest gathering was indicative of the selector’s desire to have as many players prepared, should they be required, as was possible.

The first muster of 25 players who will go into Wallabies camp ahead of the Lions tour on June 3 will be announced on Sunday May 19.

A further six players will be added as soon as Super Rugby breaks for the June Tests, with the final Qantas Wallabies squad of 31 for the British & Irish Lions series to be unveiled at Stockland Stadium on the Sunshine Coast on Tuesday June 11.

The Wallabies will be in camp on the Sunshine Coast before moving to Brisbane for the opening game of the three-Test series at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday June 22.

The players who will assemble on Sunday afternoon in Sydney are: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs), Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds), Joe Tomane (Brumbies), Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs), Ben Tapuai (Queensland Reds), Pat McCabe (Brumbies), Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies), Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs), James O’Connor (Melbourne Rebels), Nic White (Brumbies), Will Genia (Queensland Reds), Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs), Fotu Auelua (Brumbies), Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs), Liam Gill (Queensland Reds), Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs), Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels), Ben Mowen (Brumbies), Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds), James Horwill (Queensland Reds), Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs), Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs), Dan Palmer (Brumbies), James Slipper (Queensland Reds), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs).