Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has unveiled a 44-man squad for a training camp on the Gold Coast next week as part of the preparations for this year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
The squad is divided into 25 forwards and 19 backs and there are several players who are currently recovering from injuries who have been named in the group, including the likes of Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi while veteran utility back Kurtley Beale has also been called up.
The camp is part of Rennie‘s preparations for this year’s Rugby World Cup in France, which kicks off in September, and a big surprise in the squad is the inclusion of Waratahs back-row Charlie Gamble.
The 26-year-old was born in New Zealand but will be eligible to represent the Wallabies from April. Gamble shot to fame after shining at club rugby level for Petersham in Sydney and made his Super Rugby debut in 2021.
Gamble and Brumbies scrum-half Ryan Lonergan are the only two uncapped players in Rennie’s squad. Lonergan is no stranger to the Wallabies set-up, however, as he has been included in previous training squads and he also captained the Australia ‘A’ side in 2022.
Meanwhile, experienced players like Bernard Foley, Tom Banks and Will Skelton have not been included as they have commitments with their respective clubs in Japan and France.
Most of the players who participated in Australia’s recent end-of-year tour to Europe have been named in this squad although the inclusion of both Cooper and Kerevi is encouraging as they are still in recovery from their injuries and hoping to be in action for their clubs towards the end of the Japan Rugby League One season.
Amongst the other players in the squad, Taniela Tupou, Matt Philip, Rob Leota, Izaia Perese and Angus Bell are also currently injured and continuing their rehabilitation, while Western Force second-row Izack Rodda has also been selected after missing the entire 2022 Test season due to a foot injury.
“What’s exciting for us is that over the past three years we’ve created genuine depth and competition of places,” Rennie said in a statement.
“Of the 44 players all bar two have worn the gold jersey over the past three years and there’s also several fringe players who still have an opportunity to force their way into the next camp through strong Super Rugby form.
“We’ll use the four days to make sure all players head back to their franchises with a clear understanding on what will give them the best chance of representing their country in a World Cup year.”
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Wallabies training squad:
Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Angus Bell, Matt Gibbon, Tom Robertson, James Slipper, Sam Talakai, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, Lachlan Lonergan, David Porecki, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Matt Philip, Izack Rodda, Darcy Swain, Charlie Gamble, Langi Gleeson, Ned Hanigan, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper, Rob Leota, Fraser McReight, Pete Samu, Rob Valetini, Harry Wilson
Backs: Jake Gordon, Ryan Lonergan, Tate McDermott, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Ben Donaldson, Noah Lolesio, Lalakai Foketi, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Jock Campbell, Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Tom Wright