Cheika makes the tough calls

Everyone was hoping for a call from Michael Cheika – until they got it.

Cheika, ever the innovator, arranged for members of the 1999 World Cup-winning Wallabies to phone the good news to the players who made his 31-man squad for the 2015 edition of rugby’s showpiece.

The coach himself made the toughs calls to those who didn’t.

The two most notable omissions were 2011 World Cup captain James Horwill and halfback Nic White.

Delivering the bad news to veteran lock Horwill was particularly tough.

“That was a very difficult conversation for me last night and credit to James and the other players that were left out,” Cheika said.

“Their attitude in dealing with the disappointment they had was brilliant.

“They were even feeling for me, knowing it was a difficult call to make to them … they still want to play their part in the team if possible.”

Cheika went with four locks with Rob Simmons, Dean Mumm, Kane Douglas and Will Skelton all getting call ups.

“I just think the balance of the team we wanted meant that we needed just the two lineout-oriented locks and we’ve got those.”

Just two weeks ago, White was the hero for the Wallabies, lifting them to a dramatic victory over the All Blacks in Sydney with a 49-metre penalty goal and a late try to get Cheika’s men home and set up a Bledisloe Cup decider.

He was rewarded with a start at No.9 against New Zealand last weekend but the Wallabies were crushed by a rampaging All Blacks at Eden Park.

Veteran playmaker Matt Giteau was the high-profile omission from the 2011 World Cup squad and admitted his selection this time around was bittersweet.

“Because I know what it’s like when you’ve been involved in that environment for an extended period of time and then to miss out,” Giteau said.

“And a couple of them are really close friends. So while I’m excited and very proud to be named, you still feel for those guys.”

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