Connolly opts for youth and experience
October 3, 2006

Wallabies Coach John Connolly and fellow selectors Scott Johnson and Michael O'Connor have named a 37-man squad for next month's four-Test Spring Tour of Italy and the UK.

The squad features 9 new inclusions, including the return of experienced campaigners Brendan Cannon, David Lyons and Morgan Turinui.

Both Cannon and Lyons return to the Wallabies after overcoming injuries which kept them out of contention for a place in this year's winter Test squad, while Turinui earns a re-call to the National squad after playing all 13 Tests for the Wallabies in 2005.

With a combined 100 Tests between them, the experienced trio joins relative Test newcomers Al Campbell, Stephen Hoiles, Hugh McMeniman, Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau, who have been called in from outside the squad for the for the 2006 Bundaberg Rum Rugby Series.

Brumbies backs Adam Ashley-Cooper and Gene Fairbanks will make their first Tour with the Wallabies, while Fairbanks and Queensland lock James Horwill are the squad's two uncapped players.

Stirling Mortlock will captain the team in the absence of regular skipper George Gregan, who elected to rest from the Tour in order to undertake a physical fitness program ahead of the World Cup.

Connolly has named four vice captains for the seven-match Tour, including regular deputy Dan Vickerman and fellow forward Phil Waugh, along with backs Chris Latham and Stephen Larkham.

Connolly said that while he continues to keep one eye on the future in the build up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the aim for the Tour is to win Test matches.

"We've picked the squad on form but we've also made some selections with a view to the future," said Connolly.

"It's important that we continue to broaden the squad in the lead up to the World Cup but we are going (on the Tour) with the expectation to win all four Tests," he added.

Connolly said that the return of some experienced stars has given the squad a strong balance.

"We've maintained a pretty good balance between younger players and experienced players for the Tour," said Connolly.

"A number of selections were very tight and there are a handful of players that were extremely unlucky to miss out, but we feel that the 37 we have selected will give us the best chance to be successful on the Tour as well as continuing our aim of broadening the player depth in Australian Rugby," he said.

The 37 man squad will assemble for a 6 day training camp in Coffs Harbour this Sunday (8 October).

Qantas Wallabies Squad for the 2006 Spring Tour of Italy and the UK

Ashley-Cooper, Adam
Baxter, Alistair
Blake, Rodney
Campbell, Alister
Cannon, Brendan
Chisholm, Mark
Cordingley, Sam
Elsom, Rocky
Fairbanks, Gene
Gerrard, Mark
Giteau, Matt
Hoiles, Stephen
Holmes, Greg
Horwill, James
Larkham, Stephen
Latham, Chris
Lyons, David
McIsaac, Tai
McMeniman, Hugh
Mitchell, Drew
Moore, Stephen
Mortlock, Stirling
Palu, Wycliff
Polota-Nau, Tatafu
Rathbone, Clyde
Robinson, Benn
Rogers, Mat
Sharpe, Nathan
Sheehan, Brett
Shepherd, Cameron
Shepherdson, Guy
Smith, George
Staniforth, Scott
Tuqiri, Lote
Turinui, Morgan
Vickerman, Daniel
Waugh, Phil

2006 Qantas Wallaby Spring Tour Schedule

Wednesday 1 Nov
Ospreys v Australia A
Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Saturday 4 Nov
Wales v Australia
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Saturday 11 Nov
Italy v Australia
Stadio Flaminio, Rome

Wednesday 15 Nov
Ireland A v Australia A
Thomond Park, Limerick

Sunday 19 Nov
Ireland v Australia
Lansdowne Road, Dublin

Tuesday 21 Nov
Scotland A v Australia A
McDiarmid Park, Perth

Saturday 25 Nov
Scotland v Australia
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

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