Four newcomers in Wallabies squadComment on this story
Sydney – Australia coach Ewen McKenzie named four uncapped players in a 32-man squad for next month's three-Test tour by France.
They included Western Force hooker Nathan Charles and three locks Ä the ACT Brumbies' Sam Carter, Melbourne Rebels' Luke Jones and Will Skelton of the New South Wales Waratahs.
The uncapped locks have been called up following the loss of Ireland-bound Kane Douglas, France-based Sitaleki Timani and Melbourne Rebels' Hugh Pyle to overseas clubs.
“We've made a decision that we need to look forward and we've made an investment in guys that are going to be around (in Australia),”McKenzie said.
Waratahs pair Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley were named as fly-halves in the absence of Quade Cooper, who is out for at least four months with a shoulder injury.
The Brumbies' regular number 10 Matt Toomua won a place as a centre.
McKenzie said he would not name a replacement for France-bound Ben Mowen as skipper until the Wallabies go into training camp on June 1.
“In the group there's a lot of versatility, particularly in the backs where there are a lot of players who can play in more than one position,” he said.
“We have deliberately nominated positions for players today but that doesn't mean we are limited to that and when we get into camp we'll work it out as we go along.”
Among notable players to miss selection were prop Benn Robinson, flanker Dave Dennis and fullback Jesse Mogg.
McKenzie said it was a case of picking up where the Wallabies left off on last November's tour of Europe, rather than starting again.
Australia beat Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales after losing their opening tour Test against England.
“The challenge for this group now is to build on our four most recent wins on the European Tour and ensure we continue to develop a winning culture,” he said.
“The last time an Australian team won five straight games was in 2008. That's a six-year hoodoo we need to break and it will be our immediate short-term team goal.”
Rebels winger Tom English, second-rower Cadeyrn Neville, NSW tight-head Paddy Ryan and Brumbies flyer Henry Speight were also named to train with the Wallabies' squad leading into the first Test.
The Waratahs have the most representatives with 11 ahead of the Brumbies (10), Western Force (five), Reds (four) and Rebels (two).
Australia play France in three Tests beginning in Brisbane on June 7, followed by Melbourne (June 14) and Sydney (June 21).
Props: Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Pek Cowan (Western Force), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), James Slipper (Reds).
Hookers: Nathan Charles (Western Force), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs).
Locks: Sam Carter (Brumbies), James Horwill (Reds), Luke Jones (Rebels), Rob Simmons (Reds), Will Skelton (Waratahs).
Back-rowers: Scott Fardy (Brumbies), Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), Matt Hodgson (Western Force), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), Ben McCalman (Western Force), Wycliff Palu (Waratahs).
Scrum-halves: Will Genia (Reds), Nick Phipps (Waratahs), Nic White (Brumbies).
Fly-halves: Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs).
Centres: Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Brumbies).
Back-three: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Nick Cummins (Western Force), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Rob Horne (Waratahs), Pat McCabe (Brumbies). – Sapa-AFP