Wallabies: Folau in, Cooper out
Wallabies: Folau in, Cooper outSHARE
Australia named former Rugby League international Israel Folau in a 30-man Wallabies preliminary squad on Friday, but there was no place for Quade Cooper.
The players are getting together in Sydney to conclude off-field requirements and team planning ahead of this year's highly anticipated B&I Lions tour of Australia.
Folau has been recognised for his fine form with the New South Wales Waratahs in the Super Rugby competition since switching to Union from League via Aussie Rules.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said exclusion from the latest selection "did not" rule players out of participation in the Lions Test series.
Reds playmaker Cooper, who was fined AU$60,000 (US$63,100) and banned for three games last October for bringing the game into disrepute by criticising Deans, was the most notable omission.
The 25-year-old made headlines when he lashed out on social media at the "toxic" environment within the national squad and the defensive style of the coach.
The squad will get together in Sydney over the weekend in what has been termed a logistical exercise in off-field requirements and team planning ahead of the Lions Tests in June-July.
The Australian Rugby Union said although it is not an official Wallabies squad, the selection, which features seven uncapped players, rewards those who have shown strong form in this year's Super 15 series.
Deans said the gathering, which wraps up on Monday, will allow the players to complete the team's pre-Lions commercial obligations, with some specific rugby-related planning also involved.
The first muster of 25 players who will go into Wallabies camp ahead of the Lions tour on June 3 will be announced on Sunday May 19.
A further six players will be added as soon as Super Rugby breaks for the June Tests, with the final Qantas Wallabies squad of 31 for the British & Irish Lions series to be unveiled at Stockland Stadium on the Sunshine Coast on Tuesday June 11.
The Wallabies will be in camp on the Sunshine Coast before moving to Brisbane for the opening game of the three-Test series at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday June 22.
The opening game of the three-Test series against the Lions takes place in Brisbane on June 22.
The front-running Brumbies are indicative of that, with 11 members of the Australian Conference leader's squad included.
The inclusion of seven uncapped players in this latest gathering was indicative of the selector's desire to have as many players prepared, should they be required, as was possible.
Wallaby squad: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Digby Ioane (Reds), Joe Tomane (Brumbies), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Ben Tapuai (Reds), Pat McCabe (Brumbies), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), Berrick Barnes (Waratahs), James O'Connor (Rebels), Nic White (Brumbies), Will Genia (Reds), Wycliff Palu (Waratahs), Fotu Auelua (Brumbies), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), Liam Gill (Reds), Dave Dennis (Waratahs), Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), Ben Mowen (Brumbies), Rob Simmons (Reds), James Horwill (Reds), Kane Douglas (Waratahs), Sitaleki Timani (Waratahs), Dan Palmer (Brumbies), James Slipper (Reds), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Benn Robinson (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs).