Shocks aplenty as Wallabies announce Rugby World Cup 2023 squad

Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 8:33 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

Eddie Jones has made several huge calls as he announces the 33-player Wallabies squad for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

Co-captain Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper are among the exclusions, with Jones naming lock Will Skelton as captain.

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18-year-old Max Jorgensen is the major bolter, selected after a dream season with the Waratahs.

Jorgensen missed the U20 World Championships and home Test series after a long-term MCL injury.

He is one of three uncapped players in the squad, with Brumbies prop Blake Schoupp and Western Force scrumhalf Issak Fines-Leleiwasa also earning a call-up.

There was no place for co-captain Hooper, who failed to overcome a calf injury.

Likewise, Brumbies centre Len Ikitau (scapula) will not travel to France, with Cooper amongst several from the Bledisloe Cup to miss the cut along with forward Jed Holloway, Ryan Lonergan and Dylan Pietsch.

"It’s a young squad, it’s an exciting squad and it will be a successful squad. We are making good progress. Our challenge is to continue to improve," Jones said in a statement.

"To get a little bit better every day in everything we do on and off the field. As I've said since I took over, in Australian rugby we have the talent, but we don't yet have the team. That's still the case. But we are getting there and I’m backing that we will surprise a few people.”

La Rochelle lock Skelton has emerged as the shock 87th captain of the Wallabies, with Reds scrumhalf Tate McDermott serving as his vice-captain after leading the side in the previous Bledisloe Test.

Rebels flyhalf Carter Gordon is the lone flyhalf in the squad, with Waratahs utility Ben Donaldson the other player in the squad with flyhalf experience at the Super Rugby level.

Donaldson is included as one of two utilities, with recent debutant Josh Kemeny earning a recall.

There are 25 Wallabies heading over for their first World Cup, starting with Georgia on September 10

"I’ve backed the young blokes because they earned it. Simple as that. I haven’t handed it to them. They grabbed it," Jones added.

"It’s exciting for me to go to work each day with these guys who are just busting to improve, to learn and to get better. They want to succeed, and they will succeed and that excitement is rubbing off on everyone. We're in a good place.

"The experts have written us off. No one believes we can do it, but we believe. The coaches believe, the players believe and that's all that matters."

2023 Rugby World Cup Squad (age, professional club, junior club, Tests)

Props (6)

Angus Bell (22, NSW Waratahs, Hunters Hill Rugby Club, 23 Tests)*

Pone Fa’amausili (26, Melbourne Rebels, Moorabbin Rams, 5 Tests) *

Zane Nonggorr (22, Queensland Reds, Gold Coast Eagles, 2 Tests)*

Blake Schoupp (23, ACT Brumbies, Woonona Shamrocks, uncapped)*

James Slipper (34, ACT Brumbies, Bond Pirates, 131 Tests)

Taniela Tupou (27, Queensland Reds, Brothers Rugby Club, 48 Tests)

Hookers (3)

Matt Faessler (24, Queensland Reds, USQ Saints, 1 Test)*

David Porecki (30, NSW Waratahs, Seaforth Raiders, 14 Tests)*

Jordan Uelese (26, Melbourne Rebels, Eltham Rugby Club, 18 Tests)

Locks (4)

Richie Arnold (33, Stade Toulousain, Gentlemen of Murwillumbah, 4 Tests)*

Nick Frost (23, ACT Brumbies, Hornsby Lions, 12 Tests) *

Matt Philip (29, Melbourne Rebels, Newport Juniors, 28 Tests)*

Will Skelton (c) (31, La Rochelle, Wentworth Magpies, 28 Tests)

Back Row (5)

Langi Gleeson (22, NSW Waratahs, Harbord Harlequins, 3 Tests)*

Tom Hooper (22, ACT Brumbies, Bathurst Bulldogs, 3 Tests)*

Rob Leota (26, Melbourne Rebels, Northern Panthers, 16 Tests)*

Fraser McReight (24, Queensland Reds, Albany Creek Brumbies, 12 Tests)*

Rob Valetini (24, ACT Brumbies, Melbourne Harlequins, 34 Tests)*

Scrumhalves (3)

Issak Fines-Leleiwasa (27, Western Force, Port Douglas Reef Raiders, uncapped)*

Tate McDermott (vc) (24, Queensland Reds, Flinders Rugby Club, 25 Tests)*

Nic White (33, ACT Brumbies, Muswellbrook Healers, 63 Tests)

Flyhalves (1)

Carter Gordon (22, Melbourne Rebels, Sunshine Coast Grammar School, 4 Tests)*

Centres (4)

Lalakai Foketi (28, NSW Waratahs, Manly Roos, 5 Tests)*

Samu Kerevi (29, Urayasu D-Rocks, Souths Magpies, 45 Tests)

Izaia Perese (26, NSW Waratahs, Easts Tigers, 5 Tests)*

Jordan Petaia (23, Queensland Reds, Wests Rugby Club, 27 Tests)

Outside Backs (5)

Max Jorgensen (18, NSW Waratahs, Balmain Wolves, uncapped)*

Andrew Kellaway (27, Melbourne Rebels, Hunters Hill Rugby Club, 23 Tests)*

Marika Koroibete (31, Saitama Wild Knights, Nasinu Secondary School, 55 Tests)

Mark Nawaqanitawase (22, NSW Waratahs, Wests Juniors, 6 Tests)*

Suliasi Vunivalu (27, Queensland Reds, Saint Kentigern College, 2 Tests)*

 Utility (2)

Ben Donaldson (23, NSW Waratahs, Clovelly Eagles, 2 Tests)*

Josh Kemeny (24, Melbourne Rebels, Easts Rugby Club, 1 Test)*

*denotes first Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup Fixtures

Wallabies v Georgia, 6:00pm CEST/2:00am AEST, Saturday 9 September at Stade de France, Paris

Wallabies v Fiji, 5:45pm CEST/1:45am AEST, Sunday 17 September at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne

Wallabies v Wales, 9:00pm CEST/5:00am AEST, Sunday 24 September at OL Stadium, Lyon

Wallabies v Portugal, 5:45pm CEST/1:45am AEST, Sunday 1 October at Stade Geoffroy- Guichard, Saint-Étienne

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