Australia recall fly-half Quade Cooper for Rugby Championship
Last Updated: 26/07/13 5:13pm
Fly-half Quade Cooper has been recalled to the Australia squad by new Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.
Cooper was omitted by former coach Robbie Deans from the squad which lost the recent series against the British and Irish Lions, with James O'Connor given the No 10 shirt against Warren Gatland's men.
But Cooper is back in the fold and whilst O'Connor made the squad he is listed as a full-back.
McKenzie was Cooper's coach at Queensland Reds and he has a close relationship with the mercurial fly-half so his inclusion in a 40-man training squad for the forthcoming Rugby Championship was always expected.
Ten uncapped players have also included including Brumbies fly-half Matt Toomua and Waratahs counterpart Bernard Foley.
McKenzie said: "If you have a look, there's a bunch of guys coming into the squad who are all playmakers and the way we want to look at playing the game, we want to be able to move the ball around the park.
"You need a good passing game, you need good vision. They are all attributes of the guys we've included in the squad so there's a bunch of guys who can deliver in that space, so that's what we are going to invest in."
Cooper is hot favourite, though, to start their opening match of the tournament against New Zealand.
"Everyone talks about Quade, but I'm interested in depth," McKenzie said. "There's players not even in that 40 who we are interested in, there's a bunch of young players we could have put in, but they are not quite ready for the task yet.
"We need to have genuine pressure in every position and I am concerned that some of the positions are not as deep as we'd think."
McKenzie plans to use O'Connor at No 15, with the former international saying: "That's where I see him primarily, I think he can play a bunch of positions, but that's where we'll focus."
Versatile back Berrick Barnes, winger Drew Mitchell and lock Sitaleki Timani, who are all leaving Australia to play abroad at the end of the year, were left out of the squad.
"I'm very particular about investing in guys who are investing in the space all year round," McKenzie added. "In the end, I'll keep looking for the next guy."
Full-back Kurtley Beale, flankers David Pocock and Scott Higginbotham, centre Pat McCabe, winger Digby Ioane and No 8 Wycliff Palu were not considered because of injury.
The other uncapped players are wingers Peter Betham and Chris Feauai-Sautia, centre Tevita Kuridrani, locks Scott Fardy and Hugh Pyle, flanker Jake Schatz, prop Scott Sio and scrum-half Nic White.
Australia - Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Betham, Quade Cooper, Nick Cummins, Anthony Faingaa, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Mike Harris, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali'ifano, Jesse Mogg, Nick Phipps, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, James O'Connor, Nic White.
Forwards: Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Faingaa, Scott Fardy, Liam Gill, Michael Hooper, James Horwill (captain), Sekope Kepu, Peter Kimlin, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Hugh Pyle, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Jake Schatz, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, James Slipper.