Rennie ushers in new Wallabies era

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named 16 uncapped players in his 44-man squad for the Bledisloe Cup Tests and Rugby Championship.

In his first-ever squad as Wallabies head coach, Rennie has named a host of uncapped players, with eight of the 16 having only made their Super Rugby debuts this year.

Further, 13 players have fewer than 10 Test caps to their name and the squad has an average age of 24.

Rennie has left space for two overseas-based players to be called up, as Rugby Australia relaxing their stance on the 60 cap test rule and Sanzaar allows for a squad size of 46 players.

Young flyhalves Will Harrison and Noah Lolesio, who have both impressed for the Waratahs and Brumbies respectively, headline the uncapped players in the squad. The young duo, aged 21 and 20-years old, have been selected alongside James O’Connor and Matt To’omua as the Wallabies’ flyhalves.

Also among the uncapped players is Reds scrumhalf Tate McDermott and loose-forwards Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson.

Surprisingly, there is no space for experienced centre Tevita Kuridrani, while back-rowers Jack Dempsey and Isi Naisarani are other notable omissions.

While no captain has been officially confirmed, Michael Hooper, who captained the team in 2019, has been included in the squad and will likely retain the armband.

‘This is a really exciting day for us,’ Rennie said. ‘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 are set to begin their Test season with two Bledisloe Cup games against the All Blacks starting on 17 October, before they host the Rugby Championship, which is expected to get underway in early November.

The full squad will convene next Monday following the Super Rugby AU Final between the Brumbies and Queensland Reds on Saturday in Canberra.

Wallabies squad:

Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell*, Filipo Daugunu*, Pone Fa’amausili*, Folau Fainga’a, Jake Gordon, Ned Hanigan, Will Harrison, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Tom Horton*, Trevor Hosea*, Len Ikitau*, Harry Jonson-Holmes, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio*, Jack Maddocks, Tate McDermott*, Fraser McReight*, James O’Connor, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Hunter Paisami*, Matt Philip, Joe Powell, James Ramm*, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Irae Simone*, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Lachie Swinton*, Matt To’omua, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Harry Wilson*, Liam Wright, Tom Wright*.

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