Wallabies name Grand Slam squad


James Mortimer -     10 Oct 2009     getty

Rocky Elsom has been appointed the new Australian test captain, with Berrick Barnes vice captain.

The tour will be Australia's first attempt at a Grand Slam of the four home unions (England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland) and commerates their famous tour in 1984 which many consider the birth of the Wallabies as a world power.

Seven uncapped players have been named, in what is clearly a new chapter for the Wallabies.

The new leadership group is headed up by Rocky Elsom, who returned to Australia from Leinster this year. Elsom, 26, has played 44 Tests having debuted against Samoa in 2005.

He becomes Australia's 76th test captain, and replaces Stirling Mortlock, who was the incumbent captain when Deans took over.

"Stirling has done a good job as Australian skipper, both before I became involved, and over the last 16 months," Deans said.

"He also understands that this initiative has no meaning in terms of his playing future. He has indicated a desire to continue not only to play but also to lead and we respect that."

Deans has historically shown a preference for his captain to be in the forward pack, especially in his Canterbury and Crusader sides.

"Although George (Smith) did a sound job taking over once Stirling was injured this season, we feel the role has never really sat naturally with him," Deans said.

"Captaincy requires a big commitment both on and away from the field, and we believe George is better served not being saddled with the additional responsibility. He still has the opportunity to contribute leadership within the group."

"Rocky has the respect of his teammates because of his approach and the total commitment he brings to the game," Deans said.

The squad features 27 players who featured in the mid-year Test series or during the Investec Tri Nations.

Three members of the pre-tour training squad - lock Nathan Sharpe, uncapped winger Nick Cummins and flanker Phil Waugh - were not considered due to injury, although there is speculation that both Sharpe and Waugh would not have been picked.

Sharpe and Cummins have injuries that ruled them out for the entire tour, while Waugh was not going to be available for the first fixtures.

Prop Al Baxter is the other Investec Tri Nations squad member to miss selection.

"The nature of the playing schedules is such that we get few windows of opportunity outside of Tests in which to introduce players," Deans said.

"This tour provides us with a development opportunity, through our two midweek games. That is why we have opted to introduce some younger players, as opposed to taking along players whose capabilities we are already aware of.

"Clearly players who fall into that category are the likes of Baxter and possibly Waugh."

As well as the five tests, the Wallabies will play a midweek game against Gloucester, and a yet to be named Welsh team.


Backs: James O'Connor, Lachie Turner, Drew Mitchell, Peter Hynes, Digby Ioane, Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stirling Mortlock, Ryan Cross, Berrick Barnes (vice-capt), Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper, Matt Giteau, Will Genia, Luke Burgess, Richard Kingi

Forwards: Richard Brown, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, George Smith, Rocky Elsom (capt), Matt Hodgson, David Dennis, Mitchell Chapman, Dean Mumm, Mark Chisholm, James Horwill, Benn Robinson, Ben Alexander, Pek Cowan, Sekope Kepu, Salesi Ma'afu, Matt Dunning, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Damien Fitzpatrick


October 31 Bledisloe Cup
v New Zealand Tokyo

November 7 Spring Tour/Cook Cup
v England London

November 15 Spring Tour/Lansdowne Cup
v Ireland Dublin

November 21 Spring Tour/Hopetoun Cup
v Scotland Edinburgh

November 28 Spring Tour/James Bevan Trophy
v Wales Cardiff