Sport Union Wallabies to unveil some fresh faces
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Wallabies to unveil some fresh faces

Sam Carter
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Brumbies lock Sam Carter is one of five second-rowers selected in the Wallabies 32-man squad for next month’s three-Test rugby union series against France.  

Carter, 24, has been called up beside fellow uncapped locks Will Skelton and Luke Jones following the loss of Ireland-bound Kane Douglas, France-based Sitaleki Timani and rising Melbourne Rebel Hugh Pyle to overseas clubs.

The rookie trio will push incumbents James Horwill and Rob Simmons as coach Ewen McKenzie develops his diminished stocks of tall timber before next year’s World Cup.

McKenzie has also overlooked France-bound 2013 captain Ben Mowen, but won’t name his replacement as skipper until gathering for the opening Test on June 7 in Brisbane.

“I made a decision that we have to look forward,” McKenzie said. “We’ve made an investment in guys that are going to be around.”

But the coach has also given World Cup hope to previously discarded Wallabies with Western Force duo Pek Cowan and Matt Hodgson given chances to reignite their Test careers after last playing before the previous tournament in 2011.

Workhorse flanker Hodgson has been a stand-out for the Force, but no-frills loose-head prop Cowan is a surprise – tipping out 66-Test stalwart Benn Robinson and Chief-turned-Rebel Toby Smith.

The Force’s impressive Super Rugby results has seen their representation rise from two on last year’s Spring Tour to five with uncapped hooker Nathan Charles also joining Ben McCalman and Nick Cummins in the extended squad.

The dumping of Waratahs veteran Robinson puts a dark cloud over the loose-head’s Test future, while NSW skipper Dave Dennis has also missed selection.

The Waratahs (11) and Brumbies (10) dominate a squad largely picked on form, but Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg is another to be overlooked with former centres Pat McCabe and Rob Horne now viewed as back-three options.

Queensland players have paid the price for their terrible Super Rugby slump with only four Reds included and the likes of Saia Fainga’a, Liam Gill, Mike Harris cut from last year’s tour of Europe.

Even with Reds playmaker Quade Cooper sidelined, Brumbies five-eighth Matt Toomua has been named as a centre in an indication he’ll play No.12 against France with Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley to duel for the No.10 spot.

McKenzie has also named Rebels winger Tom English, second-rower Cadeyrn Neville, NSW tight-head Paddy Ryan and Brumbies flyer Henry Speight to train with the squad leading into the first Test.