Cooper back in the Wallaby mix

Date published: July 26 2013

Reds number ten Quade Cooper has returned from the international wilderness after being named in Ewen McKenzie's Wallaby squad.

Reds fly-half Quade Cooper has returned from the international wilderness after being named in Ewen McKenzie's first Wallaby squad.

Cooper took no part in the recent series against the Lions are falling out of favour with former coach Robbie Deans. However, he has now been handed another chance to prove his worth by the man that oversaw his development at the Reds.

Early signs suggest that Cooper will be the man to wear the number 10 jersey for the Wallabies during the upcoming Rugby Championship after McKenzie revealed that he would be looking at incumbent fly-half James O'Connor primarily as an outside back. Other pivots named in the squad were the uncapped duo of Matt Toomua (Brumbies) and Bernard Foley (Waratahs).

Despite this McKenzie denied that he had already decided on his starting fly-half.

“Everyone talks about Quade but what I am interested in is depth,” he said.

“The pecking order might change in a week's time. I am not fixed on who will start. What I want is pressure on positions.”

Other uncapped players among the backs are Brumbies scrum-half Nic White, centres Tevita Kuridrani and Chris Feauai-Sautia, of the Brumbies and Reds respectively, and Waratahs winger Peter Betham.

Among the forwards, locks Hugh Pyle (Rebels) and Scott Fardy (Brumbies), Brumbies prop Scott Sio and Reds back-row Jake Schatz are the new faces.

Kurtley Beale, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Digby Ioane, Pat McCabe and Scott Higginbotham were not considered due to injury while Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell and Sitaleki Timani were not in the running as they begin contracts overseas.

Wallabies training squad:

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 Lealiifano, Jesse Mogg, James O'Connor, Nick Phipps, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White.

Forwards: Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Faingaa, Scott Fardy, Liam Gill, Michael Hooper, James Horwill, 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.