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Thread: Wallabies Announce Squad- O'Connor in

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    Wallabies Announce Squad- O'Connor in

    Four New Faces in Qantas Wallabies Squad for Spring Tour
    September 23, 2008 - 10:18am
    Story by: ARU

    Western Force's James O'Connor could become Australia's second youngest Wallaby during the Sprng Tour.

    The selection of four new players, including Western Force utility back James O’Connor who is poised to become the second youngest player ever to play for Australia, headlines the Qantas Wallabies squad that has been unveiled today for the Spring Tour.

    The 18-year-old is joined in the 34-man touring party by fellow new caps: Western Force openside flanker David Pocock, Queensland Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper and NSW Waratahs prop Sekope Kepu.

    Queensland Reds winger Digby Ioane and Brumbies lock Mark Chisholm also return after being omitted from Australia’s squad for the recently concluded Tri-Nations series.

    The six-match tour, which includes Tests against New Zealand, Italy, England, France and Wales as well as a match against the Barbarians, marks the 100th anniversary of the first Wallaby tour of the United Kingdom in 1908.

    Flanker Rocky Elsom and lock Dan Vickerman were ruled out of selection after deciding to head off-shore, but the rest of the playing roster from the Tri-Nations has been retained.

    This includes halfback Luke Burgess, inside centre Berrick Barnes, winger Lote Tuqiri and No 8 Wycliff Palu, who all ended that tournament on the injured list.

    Burgess and Barnes are expected to join the team when it assembles for a series of four training camps in Sydney next month.

    The fitness of Palu, who strained the medial ligament in his knee against the All Blacks two weeks ago, and Tuqiri, who underwent minor knee surgery last week, will be assessed closer to the time of the Wallabies’ departure for Hong Kong.

    Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is confident both players will be fit to take their places on the tour.

    The Wallabies leave for Hong Kong, and the first leg of the tour against the All Blacks, on Monday 27 October.

    The retention of all of the players who were available from the Tri-Nations reflects a desire to build on the foundations that were laid earlier in the year, Deans says.

    “While we were obviously disappointed to fall short in the final game of the Tri-Nations, we had worked hard, in terms of putting ourselves into a position where we could win that tournament,” Deans says.

    “The task now is to push forward with our development as a team on what will be a challenging tour. It is a great opportunity for us as a group. The players who were involved (in the Tri-Nations) have earned the right to continue with the work that they have started.”

    Deans says today’s introduction of four further new caps, following on from the eight players who made their debuts earlier in the year during the Bundaberg Rum Rugby Series, will broaden the depth of Australian rugby.

    “There is a development aspect to some of the selections we have made today,” Deans acknowledges.

    This was especially a factor in the selection of O’Connor, Deans says.

    At 18 years and 80 days, O’Connor should become the second youngest player ever to play for Australia when he first takes the field. The youngest ever Wallaby was Queensland winger Brian Ford, who was 18 years and 90 days when he appeared against New Zealand at Brisbane in 1957.

    A product of Brisbane’s Nudgee College, O’Connor played for the Australian Schools last year before being secured by the Western Force, for whom he made his Investec Super 14 debut against the Queensland Reds, in April.

    The teenager completed his freshman Super rugby campaign with four caps to his name, before adding to his experience on the Force’s recent development tour of the United Kingdom.

    “James’ inclusion at this juncture is not a decision we have made lightly,” Deans says.

    “He is a young man with a bright future. We believe he is good to go in terms of starting his development as an international player. Obviously, his is a special circumstance. He has been included primarily to learn his trade, but we believe he has a lot to offer now, and will only build on that with the experience he will gain in our environment during the next two months.”

    Today’s other new caps had all been on the radar since the Super 14, Deans says.

    Cooper and Pocock were not considered for the Wallaby squad earlier in the year, instead being released to attend the Under-20 World Cup in Wales. Pocock captained the Australian squad at that tournament.

    Kepu, who is a former New Zealand age-group representative, made his debut for the Waratahs earlier in the year, appearing four times in the Investec Super 14.

    A former No 8, the 22-year-old attended the same High School as rugby legend Jonah Lomu, South Auckland’s Wesley College.

    Kepu converted to the front row three years ago, and performed strongly for Australia A during the Pacific Nations Cup tournament. He has also acted as propping cover for the Wallabies at training during various stages in the domestic season.


    QANTAS WALLABIES SQUAD FOR THE 2008 SPRING TOUR
    PLAYER
    Super 14 Team
    DOB
    Height (cm)
    Weight

    (kg)
    TOTAL TEST CAPS
    TOTAL TEST POINTS

    Forwards (18)

    Alexander, Ben
    Brum
    13.11.84
    189
    120
    2
    0

    Baxter, Alistair
    NSW
    21.1.77
    190
    116
    60
    5

    Brown, Richard
    WF
    28.8.84
    189
    106
    1
    0

    Chisholm, Mark
    Brum
    18.9.81
    197
    112
    35
    25

    Dunning, Matt
    NSW
    19.12.78
    182
    119
    41
    0

    Freier, Adam
    NSW
    20.3.80
    175
    101
    24
    10

    Horwill, James
    QLD
    29.5.85
    200
    117
    10
    20

    Kepu, Sekope
    NSW
    5.2.86
    188
    125
    0
    0

    McMeniman, Hugh
    QLD
    1.11.83
    200
    114
    17
    0

    Mumm, Dean
    NSW
    5.3.84
    196
    109
    5
    0

    Moore, Stephen
    QLD
    20.1.83
    186
    112
    28
    5

    Palu, Wycliff
    NSW
    27.7.82
    194
    120
    25
    5

    Pocock, David
    WF
    23.4.88
    181
    101
    0
    0

    Polota-Nau, Tatafu
    NSW
    26.7.85
    181
    113
    8
    0

    Robinson, Benn
    NSW
    19.7.84
    183
    113
    15
    0

    Sharpe, Nathan
    WF
    26.2.78
    200
    115
    70
    35

    Smith, George
    Brum
    14.7.80
    180
    104
    92
    45

    Waugh, Phil
    NSW
    22.9.79
    175
    100
    74
    20


    Backs (16)

    Ashley-Cooper, Adam
    Brum
    27.3.84
    182
    97
    19
    30

    Barnes, Berrick
    QLD
    28.5.86
    183
    88
    11
    24

    Burgess, Luke
    NSW
    20.8.83
    179
    89
    6
    0

    Cooper, Quade
    QLD
    5.4.88
    186
    93
    0
    0

    Cordingley, Sam
    QLD
    20.3.76
    178
    87
    21
    0

    Cross, Ryan
    WF
    6.10.79
    191
    100
    8
    20

    Giteau, Matt
    WF
    29.9.82
    178
    85
    60
    352

    Hynes, Peter
    QLD
    18.7.82
    180
    92
    9
    10

    Ioane, Digby
    QLD
    14.7.85
    179
    93
    1
    5

    Mitchell, Drew
    WF
    26.3.84
    182
    92
    25
    75

    Mortlock, Stirling (c)
    Brum
    20.5.77
    191
    102
    71
    478

    O’Connor, James
    WF
    5.7.90
    180
    80
    0
    0

    Sheehan, Brett
    NSW
    16.9.79
    173
    90
    3
    0

    Tahu, Timana
    NSW
    16.10.80
    185
    98
    3
    0

    Tuqiri, Lote
    NSW
    23.9.79
    191
    104
    66
    150

    Turner, Lachie
    NSW
    11.5.87
    189
    88
    1
    0

    Qantas Wallabies Spring Tour Itinerary
    Saturday November 1: v New Zealand, Hong Kong
    Saturday November 8: v Italy, Padova
    Saturday November 15: v England, London (Twickenham)
    Saturday November 22: v France, Paris
    Saturday November 29: v Wales, Cardiff
    Wednesday December 3: v Barbarians, London (Wembley)

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    Awesome!
    Interesting note, with 14 years difference the ill selected Cordingley is old enough to be his Dad!
    Stoked for Bam-Bam too, greatly deserved.

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    That is the best news of the week!!!!!

    Still an awful lot of Tahs.

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    Champion Contributor Seldom's Avatar
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    The East Coasters will be spitting tacks!!!!!!!!!!!! More Western Force players in the squad!!!!! YIPPEE KAI YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Champion Contributor Jehna's Avatar
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    That is incredibly. What a group and look at the Force representation! Good news on Pocock and Brownie. James O'Connor...what an opportunity...wow

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    Congratulation to BamBam and also to James....another good Nudgee boy to get a Green & Gold.

    hmm..wheres Beale??

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    Veteran Swee_82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post

    hmm..wheres Beale??
    Kicking School

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    ha Great news!!
    Congrats to Bam and J'OC what a huge honour.

    To be honest, I'm a bit uncertain about J'OC being selected at such a young age, with so little time at even Super14 level...but he is the best ooption and he is really good and he is from the Force so no problemo!!

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    probably wont get much gametime,maybe a few minutes against Italy,or the BaaBaas

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    its probably because once he gets one cap with the wallabies- he is only allowed to represent us isn't he? HE is eligable to play for 4 countries at the moment- they prob see he has massive potential and if he gets one cap this tour he is ours.

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    Last edited by inactive; 23-09-08 at 11:09.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by main game View Post
    if he gets once cap this tour he is ours.
    A very cynical view. But possibly bang on the money.

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    I dont think it was meant in that he will only get 1 single cap, but more that when he gets his first cap he can't play for anyone else, internationally.

    If he only gets one cap though, he will learn heaps from it and just training with the squad for a few months will be a huge learning curve that he can use to bolster himself a place ine the Force more regulalry.

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Swee_82 View Post
    Kicking School
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Great now everyone in the office is staring at me as I try to compose myself.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    Congratulation to BamBam and also to James....another good Nudgee boy to get a Green & Gold.

    hmm..wheres Beale??
    I make the same call Gerry, Rabbit is a rare talent sure, but the risks of putting an 18 year old on the pitch are huge, you could easily break the kid for life in that situation (and I'm not talking only about the physical presence here....nor do I limit this to the pressure being too great. He could handle the pressure with ease and become too big headed to be uesful) Anyway, I don't question Rabbit in front of Beale, I think that will happen over time anyway, I question Quade Cooper ahead of .... ummmm.... anybody really, I think Byron Blevin's a better option than Cooper.

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    C'mon the

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Who is Byron Blevin I hear you ask!

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    C'mon the

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