Former captain James Horwill and halfback Nic White are the big omissions from Australia’s Rugby World Cup squad announced on Friday.
Skipper for the Wallabies at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, Horwill has been overlooked with Kane Douglas and Dean Mumm, who both only recently returned from stints in Europe, preferred among coach Michael Cheika’s four second-rowers in the 31-man squad.
Cheika said it had been a bittersweet selection process, but promised those who narrowly missed out weren’t totally out of the picture.
White was the match-winning reserve in the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup Test win in Sydney this month and he started in the return 41-13 loss to the All Blacks in Sydney.
However he was left out as Cheika went with just two specialist halfbacks in Nick Phipps and Will Genia, with utility Matt Giteau to serve as back up at the global showpiece in Britain starting next month.
Veteran Giteau selection caps off his return after he moved to France when controversially omitted for the 2011 World Cup.
Opting for 14 backs and 17 forwards, Cheika has also chosen to only take two specialists hookers – team captain Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau, with James Hanson missing out.
“There’s some happy people and some very disappointed people,” said Cheika.
Horwill, White and Hanson have been named in extended squad that will travel to Chicago for a Test against the USA on September 5.
Others in the extended squad, who will be on standby in case of any tournament-ending injuries occur, are forwards Sam Carter, David Dennis, Tetera Faulkner, Scott Higginbotham and backs Samu Kerevi, Christian Lealiifano and Taqele Naiyaravoro.
The bolter in the squad is uncapped Melbourne Rebels prop Toby Smith, who is among 13 World Cup rookies.
The squad features a total of 1236 Test caps, led by first-time World Cup skipper Moore and vice-captains Michael Hooper and 108-Test stalwart Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Australia opens its campaign against Fiji on September 23 before tackling Uruguay and joint tournament hosts Wales and England in the so-called pool of death.
Wallabies Squad for Rugby World Cup 2015:-
Backs: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper (vice-capt), Rob Horne, Drew Mitchell, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale, Matt Giteau, Matt Toomua, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Nick Phipps.
Forwards: Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (vice-capt), Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Scott Fardy, Kane Douglas, Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Greg Holmes, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Toby Smith.