Four uncapped players are included but there’s no room for Quade Cooper in the 32-man Wallabies squad for the spring tour of Japan and the United Kingdom.
Coach Michael Cheika offered little hope that 29-year Cooper can extend the international career that’s yielded 72 Test appearances and included two World Cup campaigns when he opted to tour without a specialist back-up to five-eighth Bernard Foley.
He will call on centre Kurtley Beale or equally versatile winger Reece Hodge to fill in there if needed.
“We’ve got Foley first up and then I’ve got Beale and Hodge,” said Cheika on Sunday. “We’re feeling we’ve got enough coverage now.”
Uncapped locks Matt Philip (Western Force) and Blake Enever (Brumbies) received surprise tour call-ups through strong NRC form after injuries bit deep, with Rory Arnold ruled out by a knee issue and Lukhan Tui (hamstring) not available for the first two Tests against Japan and Wales.
Starting blindside flanker Jack Dempsey, arguably find of the Wallabies’ season, is out and facing surgery after being injured in the win over the Barbarians in Sydney on Saturday.
“Jack has torn two tendons in his hamstring so he will have an operation to re-attach those and it’s a three to four month return so he will be back next year for Super Rugby,” said Cheika.
Prop Jerome Ainsley (ankle) was also ruled out.
Veteran Force backrower Ben McCalman, who missed almost all of the Super Rugby season with thumb and shoulder problems, was included after impressing in Saturday’s game.
The tour backline stocks include two uncapped players in Force centre Billy Meakes and Reds outside back Izaia Perese, who have both been with the Wallabies squad this year.
Travelling with the Wallabies as development players will be Melbourne Rebels’ back Jack Maddocks and Reds’ flanker Liam Wright.
Highly-regarded young Reds’ prop Taniela Tupou, who will shortly become qualified to play for Australia, will join the tour once his NRC commitments are finished.
The Wallabies depart for Yokohama on Tuesday night ahead of their first-ever Test match on Japanese soil.
The tour also includes Tests against Wales, England and Scotland.
“We’ll be looking to pick our best side for every Test of the tour. These are important matches and we want to be build a consistent, winning mindset and that’s something we want to pass onto next year’s team,” Cheika said.
Wallabies’ spring tour squad:-
Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Adam Coleman, Blake Enever Tetera Faulkner, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (capt), Sekope Kepu, Ben McCalman , Sean McMahon , Stephen Moore, Matt Philip, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Lopeti Timani, Lukhan Tui, Jordan Uelese.
Backs: Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley (vc), Will Genia (vc), Reece Hodge, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Billy Meakes, Izaia Perese, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Henry Speight.
Development players: Jack Maddocks, Liam Wright.\