Second-rower James Horwill was named as Australia rugby captain for the three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions as selectors added the final picks to the Wallabies’ 31-man squad.
The last six places were filled today with Kurtley Beale, who’s been undergoing rehabilitation for alcohol-related issues, joining Hugh McMeniman, Digby Ioane, Pat McCabe, Peter Kimlin and Scott Sio in being added to the initial roster of 25, the Australian Rugby Union said.
Inside center McCabe and back-row forward McMeniman proved their fitness in last weekend’s Australian-only round of Super Rugby, while backs Beale and Ioane were chosen after being involved during a Wallabies training camp in Sydney last week, the ARU said in a statement. Utility forward Kimlin was recalled to the national squad after playing two Tests in 2009, while prop Scott Sio was called up for the first time.
“Ultimately it’s come down to the balance of the group,” Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said in the statement. “There has been a ripple effect so to speak, with the decisions made in some areas having repercussions in others.”
Horwill, who’s been restricted to 35 Test matches for Australia after injuries ruled him out of the 2010 and 2012 international seasons, returned to the captaincy after playing his most-recent Test in December 2011. The 28-year-old missed all Australia’s matches last year because of a ruptured hamstring that also delayed his start to Super Rugby this year.
The series opener against the Lions is June 22 in Brisbane, with matches to follow in Melbourne and Sydney.
WALLABIES 31-MAN SQUAD: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale, Nick Cummins, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga’a, Israel Folau, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, James Horwill (captain), Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Peter Kimlin, Christian Leali’ifano, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, James O’Connor, Wycliff Palu, Nick Phipps, Benn Robinson, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Joe Tomane.