UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
It’s safe to say the Australia Rugby World Cup squad isn’t in the best place at the moment. With the last minute sacking of Dave Rennie in favour of Eddie Jones’ reappointment, some were hopeful that the Aussies could build to be a genuine threat at the Rugby World Cup.
Now, with the men in gold sitting at 0-5 for the year so far, it’s looking pretty grim. However, if there’s one team that thrives as the underdogs, it’s Australia.
Australia World Cup 2023 squad – Eddie goes rogue
- 1 Australia World Cup 2023 squad – Eddie goes rogue
- 2 Australia’s form ahead of the World Cup
- 3 Odds at World Cup 2023 for Australia – 12.00 (11/1)
- 4 Australia World Cup group and schedule
Australia hiring Eddie Jones to resurrect their struggling side was always something of a Hail Mary, and the little master has certainly made some spicy calls in his naming of the Australia Rugby World Cup squad.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) August 10, 2023
Here’s a look at the 33-man team that Eddie Jones has at his disposal to try to win the William Webb-Ellis Cup in October.
- Angus Bell (22, NSW Waratahs, 23 Tests)
- Pone Fa’amausili (26, Melbourne Rebels, 5 Tests)
- Zane Nonggorr (22, Queensland Reds, 2 Tests)
- Blake Schoupp (23, ACT Brumbies, uncapped)
- James Slipper (34, ACT Brumbies, 131 Tests)
- Taniela Tupou (27, Queensland Reds, 48 Tests)
Taniela Tupou makes the squad, despite the Tongan Thor carrying an injury from last month. Alan Alaalatoa does not, however, leaving the Wallabies light on props.
- Matt Faessler (24, Queensland Reds, 1 Test)
- David Porecki (30, NSW Waratahs, 14 Tests)
- Jordan Uelese (26, Melbourne Rebels, 18 Tests)
Matt Faessler is the new kid on the block here, with Porecki and Uelese quickly beginning to look like experienced heads for Australia in the front row.
- Richie Arnold (33, Stade Toulousain, 4 Tests)
- Nick Frost (23, ACT Brumbies, 12 Tests)
- Matt Philip (29, Melbourne Rebels, 28 Tests)
- Will Skelton (captain) (31, La Rochelle, 28 Tests)
Will Skelton surprisingly gets the call up to captain, after Eddie Jones culled the majority of Australia’s experience from its ranks.
- Langi Gleeson (22, NSW Waratahs, 3 Tests)
- Tom Hooper (22, ACT Brumbies, 3 Tests)
- Rob Leota (26, Melbourne Rebels, 16 Tests)
- Fraser McReight (24, Queensland Reds, 12 Tests)
- Rob Valetini (24, ACT Brumbies, 34 Tests)
Several glaring omissions for Australia in the back row, with no Michael Hooper, Pete Samu or Jed Holloway. Instead, the inexperienced Langi Gleeson and Tom Hooper get called up, while Fraser McReight will look to continue dominating physically.
- Issak Fines-Leleiwasa (27, Western Force, uncapped)
- Tate McDermott (vice-captain) (24, Queensland Reds, 25 Tests)
- Nic White (33, ACT Brumbies, 63 Tests)
Few players have the ability to say they earnt their first Test cap at a Rugby World Cup, but it looks like Western Force scrum half Issak Fines-Leleiwasa will be one of them. He joins McDermott and White, in a position that the Aussies actually have covered quite well.
- Carter Gordon (22, Melbourne Rebels, 4 Tests)
Yes, you read that correctly. Just the one fly half, and he’s only got four Tests. That’s right, Eddie Jones is betting the house on a 22-year-old kid with a mullet – no Quade Cooper, no back up.
- Lalakai Foketi (28, NSW Waratahs, 5 Tests)
- Samu Kerevi (29, Urayasu D-Rocks, 45 Tests)
- Izaia Perese (26, NSW Waratahs, 5 Tests)
- Jordan Petaia (23, Queensland Reds, 27 Tests)
The devastated Samu Kerevi looks likely to combine with the elusive Jordan Petaia here, in one of the stronger areas of the Australia Rugby World Cup squad.
- Max Jorgensen (18, NSW Waratahs, uncapped)
- Andrew Kellaway (27, Melbourne Rebels, 23 Tests)
- Marika Koroibete (31, Saitama Wild Knights, 55 Tests)
- Mark Nawaqanitawase (22, NSW Waratahs, 6 Tests)
- Suliasi Vunivalu (27, Queensland Reds, 2 Tests)
In another surprise pick, 18-year-old winger Max Jorgensen has been included in this squad, despite barely playing any rugby this year, and having only just become old enough to vote.
- Ben Donaldson (23, NSW Waratahs, 2 Tests)
- Josh Kemeny (24, Melbourne Rebels, 1 Test)
Courtesy of the one fly half selection, Australia also have two utility backs, who will cover fly half if needed.
Key players – Carter Gordan has it all to do
Eddie Jones has gone all-in on the 22-year-old Carter Gordan. The mulleted fly half only has four Test caps, and yet he’s been selected as the Wallabies sole first five. It could turn out to be a genius move if Gordan hits a purple patch of form; or a shocker of a call, if he caves under pressure or suffers an injury.
Taniela Tupou is also a big name for the Wallabies this tournament. The prop is recovering from an injury sustained in the Rugby Championship, and his quick return is crucial for Australia. His skillset and physicality can overpower teams, plus without Alaalatoa in the side, Tupou will need to step up.
Key absentees – Quade and Hooper not on the plane
Jones has well and truly swung the axe, naming a young, experimental team. The biggest victims of this were Quade Cooper and Michael Hooper, two veterans that have struggled with injury niggles. Whether or not it was purely because of injury, or Eddie trying to set the tone for a youthful team, we’ll never fully know.
Australia’s form ahead of the World Cup
The Aussies’ form ahead of the Rugby World Cup doesn’t make for pretty reading. Jones was brought in as a fix-it guy, and so far, he hasn’t fixed anything. The Wallabies are winless in 2022, with their last victory a last gasp, stuttering win over a woeful Welsh side in November.
Last five matches:
- France 41-17 Australia
- New Zealand 23-20 Australia
- Australia 7-38 New Zealand
- Australia 31-34 Argentina
- South Africa 43-12 Australia
Odds at World Cup 2023 for Australia – 12.00 (11/1)
Despite Australia’s diabolical World Cup preparation and their chaotic squad, the team still as fifth favourites to win the tournament this year. The Australia Rugby World Cup odds are so strong, purely because of their draw–they sit in a pool alongside equally poor Wales, with Georgia, Fiji and Portugal as well. This gives the Wallabies a good shot of advancing, where they’ll likely face Argentina or England–two teams that aren’t exactly world-beaters at the moment either.
Australia World Cup group and schedule
Here’s how the Aussies’ tournament will unfold over the coming weeks:
- Sat 9 Sept Australia v Georgia (Stade de France, Saint-Denis)
- Sun 17 Sept Australia v Fiji (Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne)
- Sun 24 Sept Australia v Wales (Parc Ol, Lyon)
- Sun 1 Oct Australia v Portugal (Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne)
Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!