SYDNEY (AP) — Australia coach Dave Rennie has named 11 uncapped players in a 38-man squad to take on France in a three-test series in July. The squad includes 105-test veteran Michael Hooper as captain after a one-year stint playing in Japan.
The matches will be played over just 11 days — July 7 in Sydney, July 13 in Melbourne and July 17 in Brisbane.
Queensland’s Brandon Paenga-Amosa is the only remaining hooker from last year’s Rugby Championship team. ACT’s Lachlan Lonergan and Feleti Kaitu’u from the Western Force are the new additions, with regulars Folau Fainga’a and Jordan Uelese dropped.
Kaitu’u is one of two Force players named, joined by 34-year-old lock Sitaleki Timani, whose last test match was in 2013.
Melbourne lock Matt Philip, who has been playing in France, has also been included, along with uncapped Brumbies second-rower Darcy Swain.
The Brumbies have the most representatives with 12, with nine from the Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels, and six New South Wales Waratahs despite their winless year and 13-match losing streak.
“We’ve picked this squad on form and on potential, and I know the whole group will be really excited to get stuck in and push their case for a Wallaby jersey against France,” Rennie said. “Obviously the squad is a bit bigger than what we would normally have but we had to consider how we will handle the rigors of the series.”
The full squad will gather on Tuesday on the Gold Coast in Queensland state.
Australia squad: Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell, Filipo Daugunu, Pone Fa’amausili, Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper (captain), Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu’u, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, Rob Leota, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Andy Muirhead, Isi Naisarani, James O’Connor, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachie Swinton, Sitaleki Timani, Matt To’omua, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Michael Wells, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.
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