Matt Giteau is a high profile non member of the squad, the 28-year-old signalled his exclusion for the tournament, which starts on 9 September, via social networking site Twitter. Whilst the other news is Rocky Elsom has been relieved of the Australia captaincy for the World Cup in New Zealand. Back-rower Matt Hodgson has also been overlooked by Deans for the 30-man squad.
The 28-year-old blindside flanker, who missed most of the Super 15 season because of injury, has been replaced by Queensland Reds captain James Horwill and Robbie Deans said: (quote) It has become clear that the additional responsibility has been a distraction that Rocky doesn’t need. It is well documented that Rocky came into the Test season off a limited background in terms of preparation, having missed all but 60 minutes of Super Rugby due to injury. We all felt it was in the best interests, both of Rocky and of the team, to relieve him of the extra duties, with James’s recent experience making him the best option to take over in the role.(end quote)
Eight players from Australia’s last World Cup campaign in 2007 have been selected for this year’s tournament. They are Rocky Elsom, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Wycliff Palu, Nathan Sharpe and Dan Vickerman
Deans has picked six players who have recently suffered from injury, but said he was confident that Wycliff Palu, James Slipper, Tatafua Polotau-Nau, Rob Horne, Berrick Barnes and Drew Mitchell would all be fit for the tournament.
However, while squad members who are injured prior to, or during the tournament, can be replaced, all replacements are permanent.
Deans said: (quote) Looking at every scenario imaginable, and how that impacted on the squad, and our ability to still field a combination suited to the way we want to play, was a critical part of the selection process. (end quote)
B Alexander, A Ashley-Cooper, B Barnes, K Beale, L Burgess, Q Cooper, R Elsom, A Faingaa, S Faingaa, W Genia, S Higginbotham, R Horne, J Horwill (capt), D Ioane, S Kepu, S Ma’afu, P McCabe, B McCalman, D Mitchell, S Moore, J O’Connor, W Palu, N Phipps, D Pocock, T Polota Nau, R Samo, N Sharpe, J Slipper, D Vicerkman.