Cheika cuts Wallabies squad down to 31 players

Michael Cheika has ruled out coaching England

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has cut his Wallabies squad down to 31 players for the first Rugby Championship match against Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on July 18.

Cheika held a gruelling five-day camp at Sunshine Coast Stadium this week and the remaining players will now re-assemble in Brisbane this Sunday 12 July.

Wycliff Palu and Christian Leali’ifano were the two notable omissions from the 31-man squad and they were among nine players left out from the initial 40-man training squad named by Australia coach Michael Cheika.

Others to miss out were Dave Dennis, James Hanson, Tetera Faulkner, Samu Kerevi, Toby Smith, Henry Speight and Nic White

The 31-man squad, captained by hooker Stephen Moore boasts two non-capped players, with Rory Arnold and Taqele Naiyaravoro both closing in on their first Wallabies appearance.

Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika said: “There were obviously some really tough calls to make. The players who have not been named in this 31-man squad will still remain part of the group and will continue to contribute. We have also taken the opportunity to rest players, as we know it is going to be a long international season.

“I have had a good chance to test some combinations and see some players in a high intensity environment. It’s given me great confidence knowing we’re establishing some depth in key positions.

“There’s a certain thing about Queensland and how they support their teams, and in particular the Wallabies. Every time you go to Suncorp Stadium there’s always an energy and plenty of gold around the ground, and I know that will be no different for the Springboks game.”

Players not travelling with the squad to Brisbane will remain part of the Wallabies wider training squad, and will continue training with their respective Super Rugby teams.

Selected players will join the squad in Sydney in the lead-up to the Wallabies’ first Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney on August 8.

31-man Wallabies Squad

Rory Arnold (Brumbies)*
Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs)
Kurtley Beale (Waratahs)
Quade Cooper (Reds)
Scott Fardy (Brumbies)
Israel Folau (Waratahs)
Bernard Foley (Waratahs)
Will Genia (Reds)
Matt Giteau (Toulon)
Scott Higginbotham (Rebels)
Greg Holmes (Reds)
Michael Hooper (Waratahs)
Rob Horne (Waratahs)
James Horwill (Reds)
Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)
Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)
Stephen Moore – Captain (Brumbies)
Drew Mitchell (Toulon)
Ben McCalman (Force)
Sean McMahon (Rebels)
Dean Mumm (Waratahs)
Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs)*
Nick Phipps (Waratahs)
David Pocock (Brumbies)
Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs)
Scott Sio (Brumbies)
Rob Simmons (Reds)
Will Skelton (Waratahs)
James Slipper (Reds)
Matt Toomua (Brumbies)
Joe Tomane (Brumbies)


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