No RWC spots for Horwill, White

2015-08-21 07:15
James Horwill (Getty)

Sydney - Veteran lock James Horwill and scrumhalf Nic White were the big omissions on Friday as southern hemisphere champions Australia named their 31-man squad to tackle a challenging group at next month's Rugby World Cup.

Horwill captained the Wallabies at the last World Cup but was a high-profile casualty with Kane Douglas returning as one of four second-rowers in the line-up, alongside Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons and Will Skelton.

Coach Michael Cheika also overlooked scrumhalf White, despite his match-winning performance in the Wallabies' Bledisloe Cup Test victory against the All Blacks in Sydney this month.

Cheika instead went with just two specialist scrumhalves in Nick Phipps and Will Genia, with utility Matt Giteau as back-up. He also opted to go with just two specialist hookers in Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau.

The coach also kept faith with mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper despite an off-key performance in last week's 41-13 loss to New Zealand in Auckland.

Prop Toby Smith and flanker Sean McMahon were surprise inclusions, despite not featuring during the 2015 international season so far, in a squad comprising 17 forwards and 14 backs for the tournament in England from September 18 to October 31.

"We've become a really tight group and it was a very difficult process in picking only 31 players, but I know each player selected will travel to England with the full support of those team-mates who won't board the flight," said Cheika.

"Our primary focus throughout the Super Rugby competition, the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup was to select a balanced squad between youth, experience and form and this squad certainly delivers on this.

"It's also important that we select a squad that will handle the tournament play and our draw in particular at the Rugby World Cup, as well as maintain a strong competition for places in the team."

The Wallabies, who are in a tough World Cup Group A also including hosts England and Wales, head to the United States for a training camp ahead of the tournament and a final warm-up Test against the USA in Chicago.

Australia squad:

Backs: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Drew Mitchell, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale, Matt Giteau, Matt Toomua, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Nick Phipps

Forwards: Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Scott Fardy, Kane Douglas, Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Stephen Moore (captain), Tatafu Polota-Nau, Greg Holmes, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Toby Smith

Read more on:    wallabies  |  rwc 2015  |  james horwill  |  rugby

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