Quade Cooper
Quade Cooper Patrick Hamilton

Cooper still in with a chance to make Wallabies squad

ISRAEL Folau scored two tries on his international rugby league debut for the Kangaroos against New Zealand in 2007.

How he would love to replicate that for the Wallabies in the first Test against the British and Irish Lions in Brisbane on June 22.

After playing just 12 games of Super Rugby in his debut season for the NSW Waratahs after quitting AFL team Greater Western Sydney, the talented fullback was yesterday named in the initial 25-man Wallabies squad.

Folau is one of three uncapped players named in the squad, which will in go into camp in Sydney on June 3.

Ben Mowen and Christian Lealiifano from the Super Rugby competiton-leading Brumbies are the other uncapped players

Seven Queensland Reds made the squad, but five-eighth Quade Cooper was not one of them after coach Robbie Deans named James O'Connor, Christian Lealiifano and Berrick Barnes as his options to wear the No.10 jersey.

Cooper still has until June 11, the day the captaincy is announced, to play his way into the eventual squad of 31 when Deans adds another six players.

He will have a final chance to impress Deans when the Reds host the Lions in Brisbane on June 8.

Deans said the door was still open for Cooper's return to the Wallabies mix.

"People will say that's the end for Quade - that's not the case. There's still six positions to be resolved," the coach said.

"We all know Quade's history with the group, and I've selected him on 38 occasions ... so he's had a lot of faith and support from me. That's not an issue, to suggest otherwise is nonsense."

Cooper's Queensland teammate Saia Faingaa was included as Stephen Moore's back-up hooker after New South Wales Waratahs incumbent Tatafu Polota-Nau suffered a suspected broken arm in Saturday night's triumph over the Brumbies.

While seven of his players earned a call-up, Queensland director of coaching Ewen McKenzie said he hoped there would be more when the final six places were filled.

"There is still a lot of rugby to be played before then, so you would expect there would be plenty of motivation amongst the group to continue performing in our remaining two Super Rugby games before the Test break," McKenzie said.

The Reds tackle the Stormers in Cape Town and Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium before playing the tourists on June 8.

 

WALLABIES SQUAD

Backs:

  • Israel Folau
  • Digby Ioane
  • Joe Tomane
  • Nick Cummins
  • Adam Ashley-Cooper
  • Rob Horne
  • Pat McCabe
  • Christian Lealiifano
  • Berrick Barnes
  • James O'Connor
  • Will Genia

Forwards:

  • Wycliff Palu
  • Michael Hooper
  • Liam Gill
  • Scott Higginbotham
  • Ben Mowen
  • Rob Simmons
  • James Horwill
  • Sitaleki Timani
  • James Slipper
  • Ben Alexander
  • Benn Robinson
  • Sekope Kepu
  • Stephen Moore
  • Saia Faingaa

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