Cooper returns to Wallabies squad

Date published: October 11 2014

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Quade Cooper earned a recall to the Australia set-up but Kurtley Beale was sidelined as he awaits his fate from a disciplinary hearing.

Mercurial fly-half Quade Cooper earned a recall to the Australia set-up on Friday but Kurtley Beale was sidelined as he awaits his fate from a hearing into claims he sent offensive texts about a staff member.

Cooper, 26, was included in coach Ewen McKenzie’s 32-man squad for next week’s third and final Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand, who have already retained the trophy.

But there was no place for Beale, who missed last week’s loss to Argentina following a mid-air bust-up and was later suspended pending the hearing into the text message claims.

Cooper has not played for Australia this year after he suffered a shoulder injury in May and lost his place to Bernard Foley in the starting line-up.

“You’re always searching for the right balance of experience and youth in a squad, so it’s pleasing to see Quade Cooper available once again,” said McKenzie in a statement.

“This will be his first involvement in the squad environment this year, so we’ll look forward to assessing where he is up to when we assemble in Brisbane on Sunday.”

The Reds playmaker was a significant inclusion along with uncapped Fiji-born wing Henry Speight, who was named even though he is in the final stages of rehabilitation from a hamstring injury.

Team officials said Speight would use the week to further familiarise himself with the Wallabies environment ahead of their five-game European tour next month.

Speight is one of four uncapped members in the squad, alongside Western Force tighthead prop Tetera Faulkner and centre Kyle Godwin, and Melbourne Rebels wing Tom English.

Rebels lock Luke Jones also received a call-up after making his debut for Australia in the second Test against France in June.

Centre Matt Toomua was not considered after receiving a head knock in Australia’s 21-17 Rugby Championship loss in Argentina last weekend.

Western Force back-row Ben McCalman, meanwhile, is unavailable for the remainder of the year after injuring his shoulder against South Africa a fortnight ago.

Other players on the injury list include Stephen Moore (knee), Tatafu Polota-Nau (ankle), Nathan Charles (pectoral muscle), Scott Sio (ankle), Wycliff Palu (head), David Pocock (knee), Ben McCalman (shoulder) and Dave Dennis (knee).

McKenzie will finalise his 23-man match day squad next Tuesday.

Australia squad:

Forwards: Ben Alexander, Tetera Faulkner, Sekope Kepu, Benn Robinson, James Slipper, Saia Fainga’a, James Hanson, Josh Mann-Rea, Sam Carter, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Scott Fardy, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Michael Hooper (capt), Luke Jones, Jake Schatz.

Backs: Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, Kyle Godwin, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom English, Israel Folau, Rob Horne, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane.

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