Eddie Jones has named his 33-man squad tasked with winning a third Rugby World Cup for Australia.
Opening their campaign against Georgia on September 9th, the Wallabies will be led by a man all too familiar with French rugby in Will Skelton.
The giant second row is a stalwart for Top 14 powerhouse La Rochelle and will be able to offer his teammates a real insight into the country.
Joining Skelton in the secondrow will be fellow Top 14-based star Richie Arnold and a pair of Super Rugby-based duo Nick Frost and Matt Philip.
In the front row, Jones has named six Props and three Hookers, with 131-times-capped former captain James Slipper offering valuable experience in this group.
As previously reported, former captain Michael Hooper missed out on selection due to a calf injury. Hooper’s absence paves the way for Queensland Reds star Fraser McReight to start in the seven shirt.
Discussing his squad, Jones said, “It’s a young squad, it’s an exciting squad, and it will be a successful squad. We are making good progress. Our challenge is to continue to improve.
“I’ve backed the young blokes because they earned it. Simple as that. I haven’t handed it to them. They grabbed it. It’s exciting for me to go to work each day with these guys who are just busting to improve, to learn and to get better. They want to succeed, and they will succeed, and that excitement is rubbing off on everyone. We’re in a good place.
“The experts have written us off. No one believes we can do it, but we believe. The coaches believe, the players believe, and that’s all that matters.”
In the backline, the headline story is the addition of uncapped 18-year-old outside back Max Jorgensen. Clearly highly rated by Jones, the Waratahs’ breakthrough star edges out more experienced operators, namely Brumbies Fullback Tom Wright.
Elsewhere, Jones has named just one specialist flyhalf in Melbourne Rebels star Carter Gordon, who was immensely impressive in the final round of this year’s Bledisloe Cup.
Interestingly, Jones has opted to omit the more experienced options of Quade Cooper and James O’Connor, with Utility Ben Donaldson the most likely flyhalf cover option.
Speaking about the Rugby World Cup, Jones offered some interesting insights into how he views the tournament.
“Rugby World Cup is a tournament, and tournament rugby is different to competition rugby. Look at the Women’s Football World Cup.
“Favourites get beaten. Upsets happen. It’s all part of the challenge. All the teams start from the same place. We all get the same opportunity. The team that improves the most is generally the team that will win it, and that’s the task we have set ourselves. We have been improving, and we will continue to improve.”
2023 Wallabies Rugby World Cup Squad
Angus Bell (22, NSW Waratahs, Hunters Hill Rugby Club, 23 Tests)
Pone Fa’amausili (26, Melbourne Rebels, Moorabbin Rams, 5 Tests)
Zane Nonggorr (22, Queensland Reds, Gold Coast Eagles, 2 Tests)
Blake Schoupp (23, ACT Brumbies, Woonona Shamrocks, uncapped)
James Slipper (34, ACT Brumbies, Bond Pirates, 131 Tests)
Taniela Tupou (27, Queensland Reds, Brothers Rugby Club, 48 Tests)
Matt Faessler (24, Queensland Reds, USQ Saints, 1 Test)
David Porecki (30, NSW Waratahs, Seaforth Raiders, 14 Tests)
Jordan Uelese (26, Melbourne Rebels, Eltham Rugby Club, 18 Tests)
Richie Arnold (33, Stade Toulousain, Gentlemen of Murwillumbah, 4 Tests)
Nick Frost (23, ACT Brumbies, Hornsby Lions, 12 Tests)
Matt Philip (29, Melbourne Rebels, Newport Juniors, 28 Tests)
Will Skelton (c) (31, La Rochelle, Wentworth Magpies, 28 Tests)
Back Row (5)
Langi Gleeson (22, NSW Waratahs, Harbord Harlequins, 3 Tests)
Tom Hooper (22, ACT Brumbies, Bathurst Bulldogs, 3 Tests)
Rob Leota (26, Melbourne Rebels, Northern Panthers, 16 Tests)
Fraser McReight (24, Queensland Reds, Albany Creek Brumbies, 12 Tests)
Rob Valetini (24, ACT Brumbies, Melbourne Harlequins, 34 Tests)
Issak Fines-Leleiwasa (27, Western Force, Port Douglas Reef Raiders, uncapped)
Tate McDermott (vc) (24, Queensland Reds, Flinders Rugby Club, 25 Tests)
Nic White (33, ACT Brumbies, Muswellbrook Healers, 63 Tests)
Carter Gordon (22, Melbourne Rebels, Sunshine Coast Grammar School, 4 Tests)
Lalakai Foketi (28, NSW Waratahs, Manly Roos, 5 Tests)
Samu Kerevi (29, Urayasu D-Rocks, Souths Magpies, 45 Tests)
Izaia Perese (26, NSW Waratahs, Easts Tigers, 5 Tests)
Jordan Petaia (23, Queensland Reds, Wests Rugby Club, 27 Tests)
Outside Backs (5)
Max Jorgensen (18, NSW Waratahs, Balmain Wolves, uncapped)
Andrew Kellaway (27, Melbourne Rebels, Hunters Hill Rugby Club, 23 Tests)
Marika Koroibete (31, Saitama Wild Knights, Nasinu Secondary School, 55 Tests)
Mark Nawaqanitawase (22, NSW Waratahs, Wests Juniors, 6 Tests)
Suliasi Vunivalu (27, Queensland Reds, Saint Kentigern College, 2 Tests)
Ben Donaldson (23, NSW Waratahs, Clovelly Eagles, 2 Tests)
Josh Kemeny (24, Melbourne Rebels, Easts Rugby Club, 1 Test)
Tom Lambert, James O’Connor and Folau Fainga’a added as “extra training members”.