Slipper captains Australia against USA Eagles

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has named James Slipper as Wallabies captain
for this weekend’s historic clash with the USA Eagles at Soldier Field, Chicago.

The squad also features Taqele Naiyaravoro, Sam Carter and James Hanson who
are not part of the Wallabies world cup squad but were called up for this week’s

Slipper’s appointment as Wallabies captain makes him the 83rd player to Captain
the Wallabies in a Test match.

Prop Slipper made his Wallabies debut in 2010 and will will lead his country
in his 68th Test, making the 26-year old the first prop to Captain the Wallabies
since part-time front rower John Thornett, MBE during the 1966-67 Tour
of Britain, Ireland and France.

Slipper will take over the reins from Stephen Moore who has been rested alongside
several Wallabies players including Vice-Captains Michael Hooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper.

“I am extremely humbled to be given this opportunity to Captain the team
on Saturday night at Soldier Field. There is no greater honour for a player
than to lead his country and I am excited to be able to do it with this incredible
group of players,” said Slipper.

“Stephen (Moore) has done a fantastic job in bringing this group together,
and I will do my best to honour him and my country when we take on the Eagles,
who were very impressive against Harlequins over the weekend.

“We’ve always looked at things this season as a collective, with
players being able to step up at different stages. That also applies to leadership,
and we have a lot of solid leaders in the squad, which is essential in a year
like this one.

“This Saturday is a really important match for us as a group, especially
with a couple of boys making their debuts. We want to put in a performance that
shows how hard we’ve been working over the past few months before we head
over to the UK.”

Ben McCalman will step into a leadership role with the Wallabies for the first
time, named Vice-Captain in the number six jersey along with 95-Test veteran
Matt Giteau who will start at inside centre.

Both players are returning to the starting line-up against USA alongside Joe
Tomane, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Kurtley Beale, Kane Douglas and Sean McMahon who
are each starting their first Test match of the 2015 international season.

Wallabies Head Coach Michael Chieka said: “James led well at Queensland
this season, and is an important leader in our squad. This Test match against
the USA will give him the honour of captaining his country and the opportunity
to lead from the front.”

“We are working hard to develop our leaders and James along with Matt
Giteau and Ben McCalman, who lead by example both on and off the field, will
make up a strong leadership team.

Not only will the USA Eagles fixture be the first between both nations on US
soil in almost 40 years, it will also potentially be the first Test match for
Melbourne Rebels prop Toby Smith and NSW Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro,
after both were named on the replacements bench.

“Toby is an extremely humble guy, and a very popular member of the group,”
said Cheika.

“He’s been training exceptionally well throughout our 2015 international
campaign, and that along with his form during Super Rugby has earned him the
right to become a Wallaby.”

“Taqele is another player who has shown some good form in Super Rugby
this season and has great potential. We’ve been watching with great interest
during his World XV and Barbarians matches.

“Both players are desperate to represent Australia and we are looking
forward to seeing them take their opportunity in Chicago.”


1. James Slipper – (c) , 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau , 3. Greg Holmes , 4. Kane Douglas
, 5.

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