James O'Connor kicks for the Queensland Reds

James O'Connor kicks for the Queensland Reds. Credit: Twitter/Wallabies

The Wallabies Squad of 38 players has been announced ahead of the three Test series against France starting July 7.

The Wallabies announced Sunday the first squad for 2021. The squad will take on France’s Les Blues in three matches in July before the season turns to the Bledisloe Cup in August and the Rugby Championship and Spring Tour in September and November.

Last season was disrupted with COVID-19 causing the cancellation of home tours from Ireland and Fiji, and the Spring Tour to Europe.

The Wallabies played two Tests against Argentina as part of the Tri-Nations, and four Tests against the All Blacks as part of the Tri-Nations, and the Bledisloe Cup. Two draws against Argentina showed that the Wallabies had issues finishing games, and converting leads into victories.

A single victory over the All Blacks in the final matchup of the Bledisloe Cup was the sole win of coach Dave Rennie’s first season, as the Wallabies drew one Test and lost the other two of the Bledisloe Cup.

The Wallabies last played France as part of their Spring Tour in November 2016, where they won a tight match 25-23. That day, Bernard Foley was instrumental, with a try, two penalties and two conversions as the Wallabies held off the fast-finishing French side.

This year has been a tough year for the Australian sides in the new Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition, with the Waratahs going winless across both the Australian competition and the Trans-Tasman component.

The other Australian sides also struggled, combining for two wins (the Brumbies over the Hurricanes (12-10 in Round 4) and the Reds over the Chiefs in a thriller (40-34 in Round 3).

The Rebels and Force failed to find a win either, with the combined points difference of the Australians side being -480 (with Rebels and Waratahs -120 or worse).

With 16 months left before the World Cup in New Zealand, this season will be pivotal to the Wallabies building chemistry and experience in the hope of a strong showing.

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On the announcement of the squad, captain Michael Hooper was excited about the future that this team could have

“It’s all about leaving a mark. What mark do you want to leave in a Wallabies jersey going forward?” Hooper commented.

After noting the struggles against New Zealand in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman series, Hooper believes the players have learned and improved.

“I think we’d be foolish to forget about the learnings that our guys would have had. We’re going to play a lot of the Kiwi [New Zealand] guys down the track, so if we walk away from this Trans-Tasman series learning nothing, it will be a mistake for us.

“Having that exposure to the Kiwi teams is going to be huge for us going into a Bledisloe series down the track.”

The squad includes 12 players from the ACT Brumbies, 9 from each the Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds, just six from the NSW Waratahs and two from the Western Force. There are 11 uncapped players in the squad.

Coach Dave Rennie commented that competition was tight for places in the squad.

“I think there’s a couple of positions that are tight, we’ve gone for a young man in those spots. We’ve picked a side that we think will be suitable for the French. We’ve got some big men in there and then we will reassess and there may be a couple of changes heading into the Bledisloe [Cup].”

Full Wallabies Squad

PlayerPositionSuper Rugby Club
Allan AlaalatoaPropACT Brumbies
Andrew KellawayWingMelbourne Rebels
Andy MuirheadWingACT Brumbies
Angus BellPropNSW Waratahs
Brandon Paenga-AmosaHookerQueensland Reds
Darcy SwainLockACT Brumbies
Feleti Kaitu’uHookerWestern Force
Filipo DaugunuWingQueensland Reds
Fraser McReightFlankerQueensland Reds
Harry WilsonNo 8Queensland Reds
Hunter PaisamiCentreQueensland Reds
Isi NaisaraniNo 8Melbourne Rebels
Izaia PereseCentreNSW Waratahs
Jake GordonScrumhalfNSW Waratahs
James O’ConnorFlyhalfQueensland Reds
James SlipperPropACT Brumbies
Lachie SwintonFlankerNSW Waratahs
Lachlan LonerganHookerACT Brumbies
Lalakai FoketiCentreNSW Waratahs
Len IkitauCentreACT Brumbies
Lukhan Salakaia-LotoLockQueensland Reds
Marika KoroibeteCentreMelbourne Rebels
Matt PhilipLockMelbourne Rebels
Matt To’omuaFlyhalfMelbourne Rebels
Michael Hooper (c)FlankerNSW Waratahs
Michael WellsFlankerMelbourne Rebels
Nic WhiteScrumhalfACT Brumbies
Noah LolesioFlyhalfACT Brumbies
Pone Fa’amausiliPropMelbourne Rebels
Reece HodgeFullbackMelbourne Rebels
Rob LeotaFlankerMelbourne Rebels
Rob ValentiniFlankerACT Brumbies
Scott SioPropACT Brumbies
Sitaleki TimaniLockWestern Force
Taniela TupouPropQueensland Reds
Tate McDermottScrumhalfQueensland Reds
Tom BanksFullbackACT Brumbies
Tom WrightFullbackACT Brumbies

The Wallabies season will kick off against Les Blues at the SCG on 7 July.

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