Folau makes Wallabies squad, Cooper absent
Form five-eighth Quade Cooper has been sensationally omitted from the first Wallabies squad to be named for the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour.
Cooper has missed out to James O'Connor, Christian Lealiifano and Berrick Barnes, who were all included as five-eighth options in the 25-man squad unveiled by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans in Sydney today (NZ time).
The Reds playmaker still has until June 11 to play his way into the eventual squad of 31 but with three options already included his chances appear limited.
Waratahs fullback Israel Folau made it into the squad after making his Super Rugby debut in February this year, while storming Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg missed out.
Mogg was in strong contention for selection but did not make the cut. Just two other uncapped players were included in the group alongside Folau.
Mogg's Brumbies teammates Lealiifano and back rower Ben Mowen were the other two players who are now poised to make their Test debuts when the three-Test series kicks off in Brisbane on June 22.
Deans included both former Wallabies captains James Horwill and Will Genia in the squad but will not name a skipper until the 31-man group is named on June 11.
Brumbies winger Joe Tomane and Force winger Nick Cummins were also named, while veteran Test winger Drew Mitchell missed out.
Mitchell has recently returned to the Waratahs starting line up after overcoming a hamstring strain.
The departing winger, who will play in France next season, revealed on Twitter he had received a call from Deans, delivering the bad news, on Sunday morning.
"What was I thinking?! I answered the 1 call I shouldve screened ha. Congrats to the 25 men selected for @QantasWallabies. Get the job done," Mitchell wrote.
Deans's squad list was modified late last night after what appear to be season ending injuries to form flanker George Smith and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau during the Waratahs upset win over conference leaders the Brumbies on Saturday.
Smith appears to have damaged the medial ligament in his left knee, while Polota-Nau has fractured his right forearm.
Centre Pat McCabe was also omitted after injuring his leg in the same game. Waratahs centre Rob Horne is included.
The squad is:
Backs: Israel Folau*, Digby Ioane, Joe Tomane, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Christian Leali’ifano*, Berrick Barnes, James O’Connor, Will Genia.
Forwards: Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, Ben Mowen*, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Sitaleki Timani, James Slipper, Ben Alexander, Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Saia Faingaa.
* Denotes uncapped player
Sydney Morning Herald