Confirmed:16 uncapped players named for Wallabies as new dawn starts under Rennie ahead of Bledisloe Tests

The Rugby Championship
by Christy Doran

It's the start of a new dawn in Australian rugby after new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie named 16 uncapped players in his 44-man squad for the 2020 Test season.

Of the 16, eight of those players made their Super Rugby debuts this year with young playmakers Will Harrison, Noah Lolesio and forwards Harry Wilson, Trevor Hosea and Angus Bell headlining some of the new names in the squad.

A further 13 players in the squad have less than 10 caps to their name.

The Brumbies have the highest representation in the squad (13), the Reds and Waratahs have 11 players each in the squad while nine Rebels were picked.

No-one from the Western Force made the squad despite having three players asked to stay in Sydney to train with the Players of National Interest squad last week.

No captain has been selected, but incumbent skipper Michael Hooper has unsurprisingly been selected.

“This is a really exciting day for us," Rennie said in a statement.

"We’ve picked this squad on form and on potential and I know the whole group are chomping at the bit to get stuck in and push their case for a Wallaby jersey.

“There’s a big game to come on Saturday night down in Canberra but personally, I’m really looking forward to getting out on the grass in a week’s time to start putting in the work together.

“When we picked the squad, we had to consider how we will handle the rigours of the Test calendar ahead.

"It is obviously a big squad which is due to COVID restrictions as we can’t bring players in and out but each of one them is there on merit."

The Wallabies' 2020 fixtures have yet to be confirmed, but SANZAAR announced on Friday that Australia would host The Rugby Championship which is expected to get underway in early November.

Two Tests against the All Blacks will commence the Test season however, with the Wallabies likely to travel to New Zealand straight after the September 19 Super Rugby AU final with the opening Bledisloe encounter earmarked for October 17.

A second Bledisloe Test is expected to be played a week later in New Zealand, before both Test nations fly to Australia for The Rugby Championship.

Back-rowers Isi Naisarani and Jack Dempsey, as well as midfielder Tevita Kuridrani are the major omissions.

No foreign-based player was named in the squad despite Rugby Australia last week amending their laws to allow two players to be selected from overseas.

The fact that only 44 players have been named when SANZAAR has extended their squad sizes to 46 in 2020 because of COVID-19 indicates that a further two players will be included at some point.

Jordan Uelese's suspected AC injury against the Reds on Saturday night could influence whether Rennie and fellow Test selector Scott Johnson send an SOS to French-based Tolu Latu, who was one of the Wallabies' best at last year's World Cup.

There are four locks in the squad with veteran Rob Simmons the oldest in the squad. Other second-rowers included are Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, French-bound Matt Philip and rising Rebels lock Hosea, while Ned Hanigan has been bracketed as a hybrid lock/back-rower. Foreign-based locks Rory Arnold, Will Skelton and Izack Rodda could come into the frame to be called up for the Rugby Championship.

Uncapped Brumbies centre pairing Irae Simone and Len Ikitau both made the cut, with the latter in particular one of the bolters in the squad.

Reds back-rower Harry Wilson and Pete Samu are the two No.8s in the squad, while Waratah Lachie Swinton will likely compete with Rob Valetini for the No.6 jersey.

Reds duo Fraser McReight and Liam Wright have been selected alongside incumbent openside flanker Hooper.

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There are four halfbacks in the squad with uncapped Tate McDermott included alongside Brumbies duo Nic White, Joe Powell and Waratah Jake Gordon.

Up-and-coming playmakers Harrison and Lolesio have been included alongside experienced duo James O'Connor and Matt To'omua.

In the other crucial position at hooker, young Waratah Tom Horton has been selected alongside Jordan Uelese, Folau Fainga'a and Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

There are eight props in the squad, with youngsters Angus Bell and Pone Fa'amausili called up.

Out wide, uncapped duo Filipo Daugunu and James Ramm were also included.

WALLABIES 2020 SQUAD

Jermaine Ainsley (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 25)
Allan Alaalatoa (37 Tests, Brumbies, 26)
Tom Banks (6 Tests, Brumbies, 26)
Angus Bell* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 19)
Filipo Daugunu* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 25)
Pone Fa’amausili* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 23)
Folau Fainga'a (12 Tests, Brumbies, 25)
Jake Gordon (1 Test, NSW Waratahs, 27)
Ned Hanigan (20 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)
Will Harrison* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 21)
Dane Haylett-Petty (37 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 31)
Reece Hodge (39 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
Michael Hooper (99 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 28)
Tom Horton* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 23)
Trevor Hosea* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 20)
Len Ikitau* (uncapped, Brumbies, 21)
Harry Johnson-Holmes (1 Test, NSW Waratahs, 23)
Marika Korobiete (28 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)
Noah Lolesio* (uncapped, Brumbies, 20)
Jack Maddocks (7 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)
Tate McDermott* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 22)
Fraser McReight* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 21)
James O'Connor (52 Tests, Queensland Reds, 30)
Brandon Paenga-Amosa (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)
Hunter Paisami* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 22)
Jordan Petaia (3 Tests, Queensland Reds, 20)
Matt Philip (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 26)
James Ramm* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 22)
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (21 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)
Pete Samu (9 Tests, Brumbies, 28)
Rob Simmons (100 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 31)
Irae Simone* (uncapped, Brumbies, 25)
Scott Sio (63 Tests, Brumbies, 28)
James Slipper (96 Tests, Brumbies, 31)
Lachie Swinton* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 23)
Matt To’omua (52 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)
Taniela Tupou (19 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)
Jordan Uelese (9 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 23)
Rob Valetini (1 Test, Brumbies, 22)
Nic White (31 Tests, Brumbies, 30)
Harry Wilson* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 21)
Liam Wright (2 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)
Tom Wright* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)