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Rugby World Cup: A closer look at the Wallabies squad

The Wallabies will begin their 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign next month and coach Eddie Jones has caused some controversy with his squad selection.

Jones’ side are priced at 11.00 to go all the way and win the World Cup, but the jury is out on their chances heading into the tournament.

Jones was involved in a heated press conference with the Aussie media when he announced his squad, claiming the journalists were being far too negative about his team’s chances.

The Wallabies coach has made some surprise selection calls but has every faith in his side and is confident they can go deep into the tournament.

Even so, some of the decisions made by Jones have left Wallabies baffled.

Injured stars left out

Jones has taken the decision to leave both Michael Hooper and Len Ikitau out of his squad due to injury, which normally would not be too much of an issue.

If there are injury concerns over certain players then it is no surprise when they are left out. However the confusion comes when other players also struggling with knocks are included in the squad.

The omission of Ikitau comes as a surprise as it was thought the Brumbies centre was winning his race to be fit for the World Cup.

Jones is not prepared to take the gamble, despite Ikitau being one of the best performers for the Wallabies in the last few years.

The decision to leave Hooper out is more understandable as the emergence of Tom Hooper and Fraser McReight means that Jones has strong options for the No.7 jersey.

Even so, Jones’ decision to then include Samu Kerevi and Taniela Tupou, despite having hand and rib injuries respectively, has caused much debate.

Jones has taken the judgement call and only time will tell if it’s the right one.

Skelton named captain

With no Michael Hooper in the squad, the Wallabies need someone else to skipper the side and Jones has opted to go with Will Skelton.

The decision came out of the blue and would have been a surprise to many due to his lack of experience in captaining a Test side.

Leading the Wallabies at a World Cup will be a big ask for Skelton, but he is surrounded by plenty of experience and will get assistance from vice-captain Tate McDermott and the likes of Nic White and Andrew Kellaway.

Skelton also brings a winning mentality to the side having enjoyed four European Champions Cup titles and an English Premiership.

It will count for a lot at the World Cup and few will argue with the choice, even if it is a surprise one.

Concerns over goal-kicking duties

One area of concern for the Wallabies could be goalkicking following another controversial decision to leave the experience Quade Cooper out of the squad.

Cooper is on the comeback trail following an Achilles injury and has been struggling to discover his best form.

The decision to leave him out is understandable, however he leaves big boots to fill, and Carter Gordon looks to have been handed the responsibility.

There are question marks over whether Gordon will be able to ice the kicks under pressure and with Ben Donaldson the only other alternative, the Wallabies look light in that area.

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