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A sneak preview of the new Wallabies selection panel's first meeting

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Expert
19th March, 2019
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This will be the first time on Michael Cheika’s watch there will be two others – Scott Johnson and Michael O’Connor – who will have an equal say in selections.

First cab off the rank will be the termination of the ‘Pooper’ experiment and the long overdue appointment of David Pocock as captain, with Will Genia his deputy.

If Pocock’s off the field, Genia takes over with Adam Coleman his deputy, and if both Pocock and Genia are absent, Coleman to captain with Samu Kerevi 2IC.

Next will be the decision that only form players will be selected in their rightful positions at all times, and to end forwards swanning among the backs.

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nick Phipps and Tolu Latu will be thanked for their service, ending their international careers.

The big one is to come up with a list of contenders as the 30-man squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The contenders

Props
Scott Sio, Sekope Kepu, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Jermaine Ainsley, James Slipper

Hookers
Tatafu Polota-Nau, Folau Fainga’a, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Damien Fitzpatrick

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Locks
Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Matt Philip, Harry Hockings

Backrowers
David Pocock, Luke Jones, Angus Cottrell, Isi Naisarani, Lachlan McCaffrey, Michael Hooper, Pete Samu, Jack Dempsey

Halfbacks
Will Genia, Jake Gordon, Joe Powell

Fly-halves
Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, Christian Lealiifano

Centres
Kurtley Beale, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Billy Meakes, Karmichael Hunt, Jordan Petaia

Wingers
Jack Maddocks, Reece Hodge, Henry Speight, Curtis Rona, Marika Koroibete

Fullbacks
Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tom Banks

Israel Folau Wallabies

AAP Image/Dave Hunt

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Then, there is the issue of naming a 23-man squad if a Test was to be played next Saturday:

1. Scott Sio
2. Folau Fainga’a
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Rory Arnold
5. Adam Coleman
6. Luke Jones
7. David Pocock (c)
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Will Genia (vc)
10. Quade Cooper
11. Reece Hodge
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Jack Maddocks
15. Israel Folau

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
17. Allan Alaalatoa
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Izack Rodda
20. Michael Hooper
21. Jake Gordon
22. Matt Toomua
23. Kurtley Beale

The outstanding features
The tallest timbers ever in a Wallaby pack, with Arnold at 208 cms, Coleman at 204, Jones at 196 and Naisarani at 195 – that’s a lot of manpower to create havoc.

There’s also powerhouse attack and defence in the centres.

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Michael Cheika, Scott Johnson and Michael O’Connor will then go their separate ways, with the coach thoroughly enjoying the experience.

In just one day, they could collectively do Australian rugby a massive favour by putting the Wallabies back on the international map with so many positive decisions.