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Eddie Jones raises eyebrows with Australia squad selection

Never one to shy away from making big calls, Eddie Jones did not disappoint when confirming his 33-man squad for the 2023 World Cup.

After a disappointing Rugby Championship for the Wallabies, there were bound to be some casualties but few would have seen some of the selection calls coming ahead of the major tournament in France.

Shock after Hooper omission

Arguably the biggest call from Jones was to leave veteran flanker Michael Hooper out of the squad that will travel to the northern hemisphere.

Having skippered the side for the best part of the last 10 years, many expected Hooper to lead out the Wallabies for a potential last hurrah at this World Cup.

However, Hooper was a huge omission from the squad that was confirmed last week. Recent calf injury issues did not help his cause but the 31-year-old was still expected to be a big figure for Australia at this World Cup.

Injuries to other back-rowers might see Hooper recalled but it’s a disappointing time for a great servant of Australian rugby.

In the absence of Hooper, Will Skelton will captain the squad for this World Cup, with scrum-half Tate McDermott named as vice-captain.

Cooper the fall guy once again

It’s been the case in the past and once again Quade Cooper seems to be the fall guy for the Wallabies’ recent woes.

Starting the defeats to South Africa and Argentina in the Rugby Championship, Cooper was on the bench for the following two games against New Zealand.

Carter Gordon started the two Tests against the All Blacks and it looks like the No.10 jersey is his to lose, while Ben Donaldson has been also named in the squad as a utility player who can feature at fly-half.

Jones bullish on Wallabies’ chances

Regularly seen playing up the underdog tag when available, Jones seems happy the Wallabies are going under the radar for this World Cup.

"The experts have written us off. No one believes we can do it, but we believe," said Jones. "I've backed the young blokes because they earned it. Simple as that. I haven't handed it to them. They grabbed it.

"It's exciting for me to go to work each day with these guys who are just busting to improve, to learn and to get better.

"The team that improves the most is generally the team that will win it and that's the task we have set ourselves. We have been improving and we will continue to improve."

Australia are 11.00 in the Outright market to win the World Cup, with New Zealand the current favourites at 3.60.  

Australia 2023 World Cup squad

Forwards

James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Pone Fa'amausili, Zane Nonggorr, Blake Schoupp, Angus Bell, Dave Porecki, Matt Faessler, Jordan Uelese, Richie Arnold, Nick Frost, Will Skelton, Matt Philip, Fraser McReight, Tom Hooper, Rob Valetini, Rob Leota, Langi Gleeson.

Backs

Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Tate McDermott, Nic White, Carter Gordon, Ben Donaldson, Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Samu Kerevi, Jordan Petaia, Max Jorgensen, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Kemeny.

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