Wallabies squad preview: who comes in and who misses out?

Wallabies players
The Wallabies take on Ireland in June. Photo: David Molloy

With Michael Cheika due to announce the Wallabies squad for the three test series against Ireland on Wednesday, who will likely force their way in and who will be left out from last year’s Spring tour side?

First, those who will definitely be out. Ned Hannigan is injured and will miss the Ireland series. Sean McMahon is ineligible for the Wallabies as he is currently playing in Japan. Stephen Moore has retired and Tatafu Polota-Nau is being rested. Ben McCalman has not been sighted this year. In the backline Karmichael Hunt is not eligible after being stood down from the Reds for cocaine use.

Quade Cooper was controversially left out of the squad for the European tour, and he will also play no part in the June tests. James Slipper, who was injured last November, will also miss the Ireland series over his cocaine use.

Israel Folau missed the tour as he wanted to give his body a chance to recover, and he will be the first name picked in the squad. David Pocock will also return for the Wallabies against the Irish. With Moore and Polota-Nau unavailable, Jordan Uelese is the only capped hooker left in the country. He will probably be joined in the squad by two out of Damien FitzPatrick, Anaru Rangi and Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

There are unlikely to be any shock selections, given the short build up time available for the Wallabies. It would not be surprising, however, to see Jack Maddocks given his first cap during the series. Maddocks was taken on the Spring Tour last year as a development player. Taqele Naiyaravoro could also be picked despite his move to England later this year, as he is the form Australian winger.

Taniela Tupou is another who is likely to be brought into the side, based on his rampaging form in Super Rugby. Jake Gordon has also probably overtaken Joe Powell in the half-backs pecking order, and will compete with Nick Phipps to be the backup to Will Genia.