Australia’s Co-Captains Left Out of World Cup Squad, New Leadership Announced
Coach Eddie Jones has made the surprising decision to exclude flanker Michael Hooper and fly-half Quade Cooper from Australia’s World Cup squad. Hooper, who has held the role of Wallabies’ captain for the past decade, and experienced fly-half Cooper were notably absent from the list of 33 players selected.
Australia’s World Cup pool includes matches against Wales, Fiji, Georgia, and Portugal. Hooper, having represented Australia 125 times since 2012, was initially appointed co-captain alongside James Slipper for the Rugby Championship earlier this year. However, he could only participate in the first match due to a calf injury.
Cooper, aged 35, had been anticipated to occupy the starting fly-half position for Australia in France. His return to the squad after recovering from a ruptured Achilles had led to these expectations.
In a further twist, uncapped youngster Max Jorgensen has secured a place in the squad as an outside back, despite having limited Super Rugby experience due to a knee injury sustained in May.
Jones remains optimistic despite Australia’s current eighth-place ranking and their winless streak of four matches since his return as coach. The squad, with an average age of 26 and an average of 20 Test caps per player, reflects a young and developing team. This is notably the lowest average at a World Cup for Australia since their victory in the 1991 tournament.
Jones expressed his confidence in the younger players, stating, “The experts have written us off. No-one believes we can do it, but we believe. I’ve backed the young blokes because they earned it. Simple as that. They grabbed it.”
The coach emphasized the team’s commitment to improvement, noting that the most improved team is typically the one that triumphs. The focus on growth and learning underpins Australia’s approach to the upcoming World Cup.
The selected squad includes a mix of forwards and backs, featuring names like James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Fraser McReight, and Samu Kerevi among others, forming a team that Jones believes will continue to evolve and make strides on the international stage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Exclusion
Why were Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper left out of Australia’s World Cup squad?
Coach Eddie Jones made the decision to exclude experienced players Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper from the World Cup squad, opting for a mix of young talent and leadership dynamics.
Who are the co-captains for the tournament?
Lock Will Skelton and scrum-half Tate McDermott have been named as co-captains for Australia’s World Cup team.
How has Australia’s team leadership structure changed?
The exclusion of Hooper and Cooper has led to Skelton and McDermott being named as co-captains, introducing a new leadership dynamic to the squad.
What is the status of Michael Hooper’s recent captaincy?
Hooper was named co-captain alongside James Slipper for the Rugby Championship, but a calf injury limited his participation to the opening match.
How has Quade Cooper’s recovery influenced the squad’s composition?
Cooper’s return from a ruptured Achilles was anticipated to solidify his role as starting fly-half, but he was left out of the World Cup squad.
How does Coach Eddie Jones view the team’s prospects?
Despite Australia’s low ranking and winless streak, Jones remains optimistic about the young team’s potential for growth and improvement.
Who is included in the squad’s leadership mix?
Uncapped teenager Max Jorgensen and lock Skelton have been introduced to the squad, reflecting Jones’s emphasis on nurturing young talent.
What is the average age and experience of the selected squad?
The chosen squad has an average age of 26 and an average of 20 Test caps per player, reflecting a youthful and developing team.
What is the coach’s approach to the upcoming World Cup?
Jones emphasizes the team’s commitment to improvement and learning, believing that the team that improves the most is likely to succeed in the tournament.