Gregan remains as Wallaby skipper
September 15, 2005

George Gregan has been appointed captain of the Australian team to tour Europe in November, ending speculation his international career was about to end.

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones said Australia's selectors had discussed the scrum half's position following criticism of his performances this season but agreed that he was the right man to lead the squad.

"We certainly looked at George's form as you do with every player's form at the end of the season but he'll go on tour as captain," Jones told a news conference on Thursday.

Gregan equalled England prop Jason Leonard's world of 114 test appearances for a single country in the loss to New Zealand earlier this month and now looks certain to beat it.

The 32-year-old was appointed skipper of an expanded 45-man training squad that will be trimmed down to 30 next month in preparation for the four-test tour in France, England, Ireland and Wales.

The selectors included seven members of the Australian under-21 side and three other uncapped players as part of their strategy to build a team for the 2007 World Cup.

"The aim of this tour is to win the four tests but we've got to keep on developing the team," Jones said.

"What we need is competition for places so when we name the final squad there could be some established players left out.

"Everything we do now is about two things; trying to win every game and developing a programme leading towards the 2007 World Cup.

"Every country is doing that and we're no different."


FRONT ROW

Jones said his greatest area of concern was the front row and he planned to take seven props and hookers on the tour in the hope of finding the right combination.

"During the winter we struggled up front at various stages so we've got to find a good combative forward pack and part of the tour's objective is to find that," he said.

"We're going to play four teams that are going to be very strong up front so it's going to be a great chance to test our strength and find some solutions to some of the problems we've suffered this year.

Australia training squad: George Gregan (captain), Adam Ashley-Cooper, Al Baxter, Alister Campbell, Brendan Cannon, Mark Chisholm, David Croft, Scott Daruda, Matt Dunning, Rocky Elsom, Scott Fava, David Fitter, Adam Freier, Mark Gerrard, Matt Giteau, Nic Henderson, Matt Henjak, Greg Holmes, Leroy Houston, Digby Ioane, Lloyd Johansson, Alex Kanaar, Chris Latham, David Lyons, Lachlan MacKay, Hugh McMeniman, Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Stirling Mortlock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jeremy Paul, Clyde Rathbone, John Roe, Mat Rogers, Wendell Sailor, Nathan Sharpe, Brett Sheehan, Cameron Shepherd, George Smith, Ben Tune, Lote Tuqiri, Morgan Turinui, Phil Waugh, Chris Whitaker, Bill Young.

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