27 Jul 2013

Quade Cooper returns to the Wallabies

2:57 pm on 27 July 2013

New Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has recalled controversial five-eighth Quade Cooper and revealed he is looking at incumbent pivot James O'Connor primarily as an outside back.

Cooper returns to the squad for the first time since September 2012 when he dubbed the Wallabies environment as "toxic".

O'Connor, who started all three Test of the recent British and Irish Lions series at five-eighth has been listed at wing/fullback

McKenzie says even though O'Connor can play a bunch of positions he wants the 23-year-old to focus on being an outside back.

The new coach was reluctant to concentrate on Cooper's recall, instead highlighting the fact several playmakers had been chosen in the squad.

It includes two uncapped five-eighths, the Brumbies' Matt Toomua and the Waratahs' Bernard Foley.

McKenzie says he wants players that can move the ball around the park

The other uncapped backs are Brumbies halfback Nic White, centres Tevita Kuridrani and Chris Feauai-Sautia of the Brumbies and Reds respectively and Waratahs winger Peter Betham.

The new names among the forwards are locks Hugh Pyle and Scott Fardy of the Rebels and Brumbies respectively, Brumbies prop Scott Sio and Reds' back rower Jake Schatz.

Backs Berrick Barnes and Drew Mitchell and lock Sitaleki Timani, all of whom have signed for overseas clubs, were omitted from the squad.

The list of injured players includes back rowers David Pocock and Scott Higginbotham, centre Pat McCabe and winger Digby Ioane, who are all expected to miss the majority, if not all, of the Rugby Championship.

The squad will be culled to 30 on August 9, eight days before the game against New Zealand in Sydney.

Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Betham, Quade Cooper, Nick Cummins, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Scott Fardy, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Mike Harris, Michael Hooper, James Horwill, Sekope Kepu, Peter Kimlin, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali'ifano, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Jesse Mogg, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, James O'Connor, Nick Phipps, Tatafu Polota Nau, Hugh Pyle, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Jake Schatz, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White.