Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
The Wallabies squad is picked from available Australian players who play in Super Rugby, or who play in overseas competition as long as they have seven years of Australian rugby experience and at least 60 Test caps under their belts.
With an six-match international season confirmed for 2020, Dave Rennie named a 46-man squad entirely of Super Rugby AU players. That was initially a group of 44 for the opening two Bledisloe Cup matches of the year, however with SANZAAR regulations permitting 46-man squads for the Tri Nations due to the bubble conditions made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic, hooker Connal McInerney and number eight Isi Naisarani were added to the side..
|Jermaine Ainsley||Jake Gordon|
|Allan Alaalatoa||Tate McDermott|
|Angus Bell||Joe Powell|
|Pone Fa’amausili||Nic White|
|Folau Fainga’a||Will Harrison|
|Tom Horton||Noah Lolesio|
|Brandon Paenga-Amosa||Matt To’omua|
|Ned Hanigan||Reece Hodge|
|Trevor Hosea||Len Ikitau|
|Matt Philip||James O’Connor|
|Lukhan Salakaia-Loto||Hunter Paisami|
|Rob Simmons||Jordan Petaia|
|Loose forwards||Outside backs|
|Michael Hooper (c)||Tom Banks|
|Fraser McReight||Filipo Daugunu|
|Pete Samu||Dane Haylett-Petty|
|Lachie Swinton||Marika Korobiete|
|Rob Valetini||Jack Maddocks|
|Harry Wilson||James Ramm|
|Liam Wright||Tom Wright|
There’s a clear focus on youth and moving onto the next generation of Wallabies in Rennie’s squad. Seventeen players were uncapped when selected, while only six were aged 30 or older.
One of the casualties of that focus on blooding the next group of Australian internationals is Tevita Kuridrania. The experienced outside centre was left out of the side entirely on the back of some sub-par form for the Brumbies in Super Rugby AU.
Back-rower Isi Naisarani was initially another surprising omission due to fitness concerns, but later added to the squad. Jack Dempsey who, like Kuridrani and Naisarani, was part of last year’s World Cup squad, was also not selected.
The back row stocks are strong, even if there’s a lack of experience. Captain Michael Hooper is comfortably the player with the most Test gametime under his belt, and Pete Samu is another proven performer, while the remaining Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini, Harry Wilson and Liam Wright have lots of potential. Hooper’s Waratahs teammates Lachie Swinton and Ned Hanigan were also picked, as well as Naisarani.
The second row is light on depth, with only four players picked – Trevor Hosea, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Rob Simmons – or five if you include blindside/lock hybrid Hanigan.
Thirteen front-rowers have been named; five hookers and eight props. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Folau Fainga’a, Jordan Uelese, Tom Horton and Connal McInerney are the contenders at no.2, while there’s both experience – in the form of Allan Alaalatoa, James Slipper, and Scott Sio – and youth in the front row, with Taniela Tupou, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Jermaine Ainsley, Angus Bell and cult favourite Pone Fa’amausili all in the early stages of their international careers. Both Bell and Fa’amausili are uncapped.
Moving into the backs, and there are few surprises in the halves. Nic White leads a scrumhalf cohort which also includes fellow Brumby Joe Powell, uncapped Reds halfback Tate McDermott and one-cap Wallaby Jake Gordon. Will Harrison and Noah Lolesio, both of whom starred for the Junior Wallabies in 2020 and impressed in their first Super Rugby seasons, are joined by centre/fivee-eighth Matt To’omua as the flyhalves. To’omua was ruled out for the season after Bledisloe 2 with a groin injury.
Reece Hodge and James O’Connor are by far and away the most experienced centres in the squad, with Jordan Petaia the only other midfielder with a Test cap to his name prior to 2020. O’Connor and Petaia’s Reds teammate Hunter Paisami has also been picked, as have Brumbies Irae Simone and Len Ikitau, the latter of whom is the biggest bolter in the entire squad.
Finally to the outside backs, which have been named as expected. Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty and Jack Maddocks are the fullbacks, with reigning John Eales medallist Marika Koroibete battling it out with uncapped trio James Ramm, Tom Wright and Filipo Daugunu for a place on the wings.