World Cup player profiles: Australia

Date published: September 9 2015

Ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, we take a look at all of the players set to feature in England. Next up, Australia.

Forwards: Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Greg Holmes, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Toby Smith, Kane Douglas, Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock.

Backs: Will Genia, Nick Phipps,  Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Matt Giteau, Matt Toomua, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Israel Folau, Rob Horne, Drew Mitchell, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Tevita Kuridrani.


 Utility back    1.82m    98kg    27.03.1984

A Test veteran, who made his Wallabies bow in 2005, Ashley-Cooper’s vision, awareness and versatility has seen him feature prominently in Super Rugby for both the Brumbies and Waratahs for a decade, and he won the Super Rugby title with the Sydney-based side in 2014. The Wallaby centurion made his Rugby World Cup debut against Japan at the 2007 tournament in France and played in all the Wallabies' games at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. Ashley-Cooper will join Top 14 side Bordeaux after the 2015 World Cup.


 Utility back    1.84m     90kg    06.01.1989

Though his troubles off the park are well-documented, on it, Beale is a magnificent creative maverick, with an eye for a gap, brilliant hands and a cultured right boot. A special player who primarily slots in at fullback, centre or flyhalf for the Waratahs or Wallabies, he made his Test debut against Wales in 2009. Beale represented Australia at his first World Cup in 2011 in New Zealand and played in five matches at the tournament. Beale also won the John Eales Medal as Wallabies Player of the year that year and won the Super Rugby title with the Waratahs in 2014.


 Fly-half    1.86m    92kg    05.04.1988

New Zealand-born Cooper is rated amongst the world's best fly-halves and is one of the most high-profile sports people in Australia. In November 2008, Cooper make his Test debut against Italy and played his first Rugby World Cup game against the same opposition at the 2011 tournament in New Zealand. His 2011 World Cup ended on a sad note when he suffered an ACL knee injury in Australia's Bronze Medal match against Wales. That injury kept him on the sidelines during the first few weeks of the Reds' 2012 Super Rugby campaign.


 Lock    1.98m    114kg     01.06.1989

Douglas broke onto the scene in 2010 while representing the Waratahs in a four-year stint making 76 Super Rugby appearances. The towering lock made his Test bow during the 2012 Rugby Championship against Argentina. Douglas joined Leinster in 2014 making 20 appearances before heading back home joining the Reds in 2015.


 Loose forward    1.98m     113kg     05.07.1984

One of Super Rugby’s most uncompromising characters, Fardy was a revelation in a Wallabies jersey during 2013, after back-row injuries parachuted him into Ewen McKenzie’s starting line-up. Equally at home in the second-row by virtue of his size, Fardy’s carrying and ability to snaffle ball at the breakdown are especially key to the Brumbies pack. He made his Wallaby debut in 2013 after impressive performances at Super Rugby level for the Brumbies.


 Full-back    1.95m    103kg    03.04.1989

One of the most dangerous and prolific strike-runners in world rugby, Folau joined rugby union in 2013, and was parachuted into the Wallabies side to take on the British and Irish Lions after just 14 Super Rugby matches. A former AFL athlete with the Greater Western Sydney Giants, Folau plays primarily at full-back, but can also slot in at centre or on the wing. He made his debut on the wing against the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and went on to equal Lote Tuqiri's record of 10 tries in a season for Australia when he scored in the final test against Wales that same year. Folau was handed the ultimate honour in Australian Rugby when he was named as the John Eales Medallist for 2014.


  Fly-half    1.82m    90kg     08.09.1989

A talented flyhalf, who can also play at fullback, Foley boasts a plethora of skills in his armoury; he racked up the most on-field minutes of any Waratah in Super Rugby 2013 and kicked the winning penalty in the Sydney-based outfit's Super Rugby Final victory over the Crusaders in 2014. A former Australia Sevens skipper, Foley made his full Test bow in 2013 against Argentina, and in 2015 he signed a groundbreaking contract which allowed him to play for the Wallabies, Waratahs and in Japan.


 Scrum-half    1.74m    85kg    17.01.1988

An excellent scrum-half with no real weaknesses, Genia tests defences with his superb distribution and threatening runs around the fringes. The scrumhalf has also captained both the Reds and Wallabies since making his Super Rugby debut at the age of 19 back in 2007. Genia represented Australia at Schools, U19 and U20 levels before making his senior debut against New Zealand in Auckland in 2009. He also played at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and played his first match at that tournament against Italy in Albany. He will further his career at Top 14 club Stade Français after the World Cup.


 Utility back    1.78m     85kg    29.09.1982

The veteran is a recent addition to the Australian national squad, after a four-year absence. Giteau made his Test debut as a 20-year-old against England at Twickenham in 2002. He also represented the Brumbies and Western Force at Super Rugby level before moving to Top 14 outfit Toulon in 2011 when he failed to make Australia's Rugby World Cup squad. Prior to that, he played for the Wallabies at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups. With Toulon, he won three successive European Cups and was recalled to the Wallabies squad due to Australia's foreign policy rule which came into effect in 2015.


 Prop    1.83m    114kg    11.06.1983

The 32-year-old made his Super Rugby debut for the Queensland Reds in 2005. Holmes had a remarkable Super Rugby season in 2005 and as a result was included in the national team. He made his Test debut against France that same year but from 2007 until 2015 he was absent from the Wallaby team. Holmes was recalled into the team ahead of the 2015 Rugby Championship.


 Flanker    1.82m     101kg      21.10.1991

Hooper follows in a long line of exceptional Australian openside flankers and is currently one of the best players in his position in the world. The Waratahs captain made his Test debut in 2012 against Scotland and won the Wallabies' 'Rookie of the year' award at the annual John Eales Medal awards event that same year. In 2013, he played in all of Australia's Tests and won the John Eales Medal as Wallabies Player of the year. He also captained the Wallabies in 2014 following an injury to first-choice skipper Stephen Moore.


 Wing    1.86m    92kg    15.08.1989

Horne's career started out as a centre but he has made a successful switch to the wing in recent years. He made his Super Rugby debut for the Waratahs as an 18-year-old in 2008 and was also part of the Sydney-based franchise's squad that won the 2014 tournament. Injury delayed his Test bow until 2010, but the talented outside back was a member of the Wallabies’ 2011 Rugby World Cup squad.


 Prop     1.88m      125kg     05.02.1986

Though born in Sydney, Kepu grew up in New Zealand, representing the All Blacks at U17, U19 and U21 levels, beginning as a number eight. He switched to prop in 2005, playing with the Chiefs and Counties Manukau for two years, before joining the Waratahs in 2008. Now renowned as a powerful scrummager with carrying prowess honed from his years in the back-row, Kepu made his Wallabies debut the same year and played in six of the seven matches during their 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign in New Zealand in 2011 before winning a Super Rugby title with the Waratahs in 2014. 


 Centre    1.96m    102kg    31.03.1991

Fijian-born Kuridrani has got the lot. A giant centre with power, speed and hands born of an Island heritage, he offers a truly devastating running threat both from set-plays and broken-field. Though a Fiji U20 representative, Kuridrani pledged his future to the Wallabies in 2010, playing for Australia Sevens, U20 and finally making his Test debut in 2013. Kuridrani's Test career blossomed in 2014 and he finished off that year as the Wallabies' first-choice outside centre.


 Number eight     1.92m     108kg     18.03.1988

This Wallaby back-row forward who made his debut for the Western Force back in 2010, McCalman has been a regular in Ewen McKenzie's squads over the last two years. A powerful number eight, in 2013 he joined an elite group of Western Force to have made over 50 appearances for the Perth franchise. He was a part of the Australia's 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign. McCalman signed a flexible contract with the Australian Rugby Union in 2015 which allows him to play Super Rugby with the Force but also in Japan when that competition ends for three years until 2018.


 Flanker     1.86m      100kg     18.06.1994

McMahon is highly rated in Australia and represented his country at Schoolboy, Sevens and U20 levels before making his Test debut in 2014. His rugby career started in Brisbane but he has been a Rebels stalwart since making his Super Rugby debut for the Melbourne-based franchise in 2014. McMahon caught the attention of Australia's senior selectors after representing their U20 side from 2012 to 2014 and he made his Test debut against Wales at the end of 2014.


 Wing    1.82m     92kg     18.03.1984

Mitchell has represented the Reds, Western Force and Waratahs at Super Rugby level but moved to Top 14 side Toulon in 2013. He made his Test debut against the Springboks in 2005 and has represented the Wallabies at the 2007 and 2011 World Cup tournaments in France and New Zealand respectively. Mitchell won back-to-back European Cups with Toulon in 2013 and 2014 and was recalled to the Wallabies squad due to Australia's foreign policy rule which came into effect in 2015.


 Hooker    1.86m    112kg    20.01.1983

Moore made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds in 2003 and made 46 appearrances for them before joining the Brumbies in 2009. He made his Test debut against Samoa in 2005 and represented the Wallabies at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups. Moore was named as Australia's captain for the 2014 three-Test June series against France but picked up a season-ending knee injury during the opening minutes of the first Test in Brisbane. He has recovered from that injury and will captain Australia at the World Cup.


 Lock    1.96m    109kg    05.03.1984

Mumm made his Super Rugby bow in 2007 for the New South Wales Waratahs and as a reslut was included in the national team a year later. He made his test debut for Australia in 2008. He played for the Waratahs between 2007 and 2012 before heading to Europe where he played for Premiership side Exeter. He returned to the Waratahs during the latter stages of their 2015 Super Rugby campaign.


 Hooker    1.85m      115kg     29.07.1985

Renowned for his raw power with and without the ball in his grasp, Polota-Nau is an experienced Test hooker. He has spent eight years with the Waratahs, and won his first Wallabies cap in 2005 against England after being voted IRB U21 Player of the Year. Polota-Nau played in six matches at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. A member of the Waratahs side that won the 2014 Super Rugby tournament Polota-Nau battled with concussions in 2015.


 Scrum-half    1.80m    87kg    09.01.1989

A tricky Sevens star with great feet and lovely distribution, Phipps has established himself as one of Australia’s premier scrumhalves. He featured against the British and Irish Lions in 2013, two years after his Test debut, and joined the Waratahs in 2014 after playing for the Melbourne Rebels from 2011 to 2013. Phipps won a silver Medal with Australia's Sevens team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 and made his Test debut in 2011 against Samoa and also played at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand that same year.


 Flanker    1.84m     115kg     23.04.1988

Pocock is regarded as one of the world's best openside flankers and represented Australia at Schools, U19, U20 and 'A' levels before he made his Test debut against the All Blacks in Hong Kong in 2008. He started his Super Rugby career at the Western Force in 2006 and represented them with distinction before joining the Brumbies in 2013. Pocock has won the John Eales Medal as Australia's Player of the Year and represented the Wallabies at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in France. He suffered successive knee injuries in 2013 and 2014 which kept him on the sidelines for for large parts of both those seasons.


 Number eight    1.94m     116kg      27.05.1982

Palu is a veteran Test number eight, renowned for his power and ball-carrying ability. He has spent a whopping nine-years with the Waratahs, debuting in 2005, and made his Wallabies bow a year later. Few players in the world are more devastating with ball in hand.


 Lock    2.00m     115kg     19.04.1989

Extremely proficient at the set-piece, Simmons used to live in the shadow of his club and international team-mate James Horwill, but has risen to prominence as his game has developed and matured. A Queensland native, Simmons has become the heartbeat of the Reds in recent times. Simmons made his Test debut in 2010 and also represented them at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. 


 Prop    1.87m     116kg     16.10.1991

One of Australia’s rising stars, Sio has shot to prominence courtesy of his excellent scrummaging, and continual development under the watchful eye of experienced team-mates such as Stephen Moore. Made his Brumbies debut in 2012, and his Test bow a year later aged just 21. Definitely one to watch. A former Australia U20 representative Sio made his senior international debut against the All Blacks in Sydney in 2013.


Prop     1.86m     117kg     06.06.1989

A prop with a burgeoning reputation, Slipper made both his Super Rugby and international debut in 2010. Since then, he has continued to amass caps at both levels and has done a good job of laying a rock-solid foundation at the set-piece for both the Reds and Australia. Slipper was part of Australia's 30-man squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and played in all of their's games during that tournament. In 2015 he replaced James Horwill as the Reds' captain.


 Lock    2.03m     140kg     03.05.1992

A stunning Wallabies debut against France in June 2014 marked the pinnacle of second-row Skelton’s career so far. First capped for the Waratahs in 2013, he is possessed of brilliant ball skills in the lineout and the loose, a surprising turn of pace for such a huge man, and the strength to make a real impact around the contact area. Skelton was also part of the Waratahs' squad that were crowned Super Rugby champions in 2014.


 Prop    190m    112kg     10.10.1988

The Rebels often target players that show real potential but are struggling for first XV opportunities, and Smith is a prime example of this. The powerful loosehead was a part of the Chiefs’ 2012 and 2013 Super Rugby-winning squads, but headed to Melbourne in 2014 with the hopes of representing Australia, where he was born, at international level.


 Wing    1.86m    97kg    24.03.1988

Rapid, powerful, and possessed of a devastating sidestep, few can match Fijian-born Speight’s threat with ball in hand, particularly in broken-field. A real offensive asset to the Brumbies since 2011. He qualified for Australia midway through the 2014 Rugby Championship. 


 Wing    1.90m    102kg    11.02.1990

Another of Australia’s Kiwi-born contingent, Tomane offers pace and serious power from the wing. Swapping the NRL for the Brumbies and Super Rugby in 2012, he has worked hard to improve upon the more technical points of his game: kicking, positioning and defence. Tomane's made his Test debut against Scotland in 2012 after last representing his country in rugby union at Schoolboy level in 2007.


 Utility back    1.82m     89kg     02.01.1990

After an outstanding Super Rugby season with the Brumbies in 2013, Toomua made his debut for the Wallabies in 2013, cementing himself as one of Australia’s premier playmakers. Toomua struggled for game time in his first four years with the Brumbies, behind Matt Giteau, before a crippling knee injury cut his 2012 season short. In 2009 he played four games for Western Province in South Africa before returning to Canberra. Toomua, is equally at home at fly-half or inside centre, but has been struggling with injuries in 2015.