Australia have confirmed their 31-man squad to contest the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, with James Horwill and Nic White among the biggest omissions made by head coach Michael Cheika. Horwill, who is set to join Aviva Premiership side Harlequins on a three-year deal from the beginning of next season, captained the Wallabies to the semi-finals four years ago but the 30-year-old has been deemed surplus to requirements this time as Kane Douglas is selected alongside Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons and Will Skelton at lock.
White, meanwhile, was expected to be included after his late 10-point haul against New Zealand secured a surprise victory for Australia over their star-studded neighbours in the third round of the Rugby Championship. Cheika has decided to feature just two scrum-halves in Will Genia and Nick Phipps, with the former having been suffering from a knee injury of late.
Toulon pair Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell are both selected, while controversial number 10 Quade Cooper is also set to travel. Stephen Moore, one of only two specialist hookers in the squad, captains the side and will be assisted by two more experienced campaigners in Michael Hooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Although Horwill and White will not play at the World Cup, they will remain with the squad alongside Sam Carter, David Dennis, Tetera Faulkner, James Hanson, Scott Higginbotham, Samu Kerevi, Christian Lealiifano and Taqele Naiyaravoro until they are scheduled to leave for the UK in September.
"Firstly, I would like to thank all of the players who have contributed to the Wallabies Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup campaigns this season," Cheika said after his selections were revealed at the Qantas Hangar in Sydney Airport. "We're become a really tight group and it was a very difficult process in picking only 31 players, but I know each player selected will travel to England with the full support of those team mates who won't board the flight.
"Our primary focus throughout the Super Rugby competition, The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup was to select a balanced squad between youth, experience and form and this squad certainly delivers on this. It's also important that we select a squad that will handle the tournament play and our draw in particular at the Rugby World Cup, as well as maintain a strong competition for places in the team."
Australia eventually triumphed in a shortened Rugby Championship after recording three straight victories, although they lost 41-13 to the All Blacks in a Bledisloe Cup decider at Eden Park last weekend. Cheika's side face a final warm-up test against the US before beginning their quest for a first World Cup crown since 1999 against Fiji at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 24 September. They will also play Uruguay, hosts England and Wales in a bid to escape a bruising Pool A.
Australia's 31-man World Cup squad:
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.