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Two is enough for Australia

Published 21/08/2015

Michael Hooper will play a key leadership role for Australia at the Rugby World Cup
Michael Hooper will play a key leadership role for Australia at the Rugby World Cup

Australia have gambled by selecting only two hookers in a World Cup squad that is missing veteran lock James Horwill.

Stephen Moore, who will lead the Wallabies at England 2015, and Tatafu Polota-Nau are the only recognised players in a position that usually demands a third option in the 31-man squads submitted for the tournament.

Horwill, captain in 2011 and during the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia two years later, is a surprise omission.

Flanker Sean McMahon and prop Toby Smith are included despite previously being absent from coach Michael Cheika's plans during the 2015 international season.

Flanker Michael Hooper will share the vice-captain's armband with Adam Ashley-Cooper as he makes his first appearance at a World Cup.

The selection travelling to England for the September tournament comprises 17 forwards and 14 backs, who have over 1,200 Test caps between them, but 2011 captain James Horwill has failed to make the touring party.

"We're become a really tight group and it was a very difficult process in picking only 31 players, but I know each player selected will travel to England with the full support of those team-mates who won't board the flight," Cheika said.

Australia begin their campaign against Fiji in Cardiff on September 23 before facing Uruguay in Birmingham four days later.

The two-time world champions then meet Pool A rivals England and Wales at Twickenham, London, on October 3 and October 10 respectively.

Australia squad:

Forwards: S Moore, T Polota-Nau, G Holmes, S Kepu, S Sio, J Slipper, T Smith, K Douglas, D Mumm, R Simmons, W Skelton, S Fardy, M Hooper, B McCalman, S McMahon, W Palu, D Pocock.

Backs: W Genia, N Phipps, Q Cooper, B Foley, K Beale, M Giteau, M Toomua, A Ashley-Cooper, I Folau, R Horne, D Mitchell, H Speight, J Tomane, T Kuridrani.

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