Wallabies coach Michael Chieka has named his squad for the Bledisloe Cup opener.
Wallabies coach Michael Chieka has named his squad for the Bledisloe Cup opener. TRACEY NEARMY

Cheika names seven new faces in Wallabies squad

WALLABIES coach Michael Cheika has named an exciting squad for the upcoming Bledisloe Cup, which features a healthy mix of experience and seven uncapped players.

Rugby league converts Curtis Rona and Marika Koroibete have also been included.

Western Force centre Billy Meakes has been named in his first official Wallabies squad, as has Melbourne Rebels rake Jordan Uelese.

The Wallabies haven't held the Bledisloe Cup since 2002 and their last victory over the All Blacks was in Sydney in 2015.

After NSW Waratahs flanker Michael Hooper was named captain on Wednesday, Cheika has also named experienced halves Will Genia and Bernard Foley as his two vice-captains.

"I really love this Wallabies team, and love any chance I get to wear the gold jersey but to be named vice-captain really is an honour," Genia said.

"I want to thank Cheik (Cheika) for putting that trust in me - and I will be doing everything in my power to support Hoops (Michael Hooper) in whatever way possible alongside Bernard.

 

Will Genia in action for the Wallabies in June.
Will Genia in action for the Wallabies in June. DAN PELED

Foley added: "It's a huge personal honour to be vice-captain of this team and I am looking forward to working with all the leaders in this team to ensure the Wallabies elevate to the best we possibly can be.

"Hoops (Hooper) is a remarkable leader, and I believe with the other leaders in the team we can compliment his style and assist him in that responsibility."

Uncapped Reds trio Izack Rodda, Adam Korczyk and Izaia Perese will also press for selection in Cheika's matchday 23, with the squad to assemble in Cessnock, New South Wales on Sunday.

Cheika has also recalled experienced locks Rob Simmons and Kane Douglas, after the Reds duo missed out on selection in June.

But the news isn't as good for Brumbies co-captain Sam Carter, who has been dumped from the squad after featuring heavily throughout the June Tests.

Japanese-bound Sean McMahon and Waratahs half-back Nick Phipps also return to the squad after missing June's three Tests due to injuries.

While playmaker Kurtley Beale headlines the squad after returning from a season with Wasps in the English Premiership.

Force prop Tetera Faulkner also returns for the first time since 2014 after impressing throughout Super Rugby.

An injury to Rebels winger Sefa Naivalu, who scored twice against Italy in June before leaving the field because of an ankle injury, opens up a spot for Koroibete and Rona.

Henry Speight and Dane Haylett-Petty are the favourites for the wing positions, but the finishing ability of Koroibete and Rona will likely see them compete for the No 23 jersey.

Karmichael Hunt's ankle injury has also paved the way for Meakes to be included in the squad, with the Wallabies lacking depth at inside centre.

Rebels rookie Uelese has been included as the third hooker in the squad after Waratahs rake Tolu Latu was ruled out with a neck injury.

Wallabies 34-man squad for Bledisloe Cup:

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa (12 Tests), Rory Arnold (12 Tests), Adam Coleman (12 Tests), Jack Dempsey (1 Test), Kane Douglas (31 Tests), Tetera Faulkner (2 Tests), Ned Hanigan (3 Tests), Michael Hooper (c), (68 Tests), Sekope Kepu (80 Tests), Adam Korczyk*, Sean McMahon (15 Tests), Stephen Moore (120 Tests), Tatafu Polota-Nau (71 Tests), Tom Robertson (9 Tests), Izack Rodda*, Rob Simmons (71 Tests), Scott Sio (32 Tests), Lopeti Timani (7 Tests), Jordan Uelese*

Backs: Kurtley Beale (60 Tests), Israel Folau (55 Tests), Bernard Foley (vc) (45 Tests), Will Genia (vc) (78 Tests), Dane Haylett-Petty (17 Tests), Reece Hodge (13 Tests), Samu Kerevi (8 Tests), Marika Koroibete*, Tevita Kuridrani (47 Tests), Billy Meakes*, Izaia Perese*, Nick Phipps (52 Tests), Joe Powell (2 Tests), Curtis Rona*, Henry Speight (12 Tests)

Players currently unavailable due to injury:

Kyle Godwin (knee), Karmichael Hunt (ankle), Tolu Latu (neck), Eto Nabuli (knee), James Slipper (Achilles), Lukhan Tui (knee), Sefa Naivalu (ankle), Jake Gordon (ankle)

News Corp Australia


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