New Wallabies era begins, Dave Rennie names his first 44-man squad

A new era of Australian rugby has officially begun with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie releasing his first squad ahead of this year's Bledisloe Test series and Rugby Championship.

Naming a 44-man group, Rennie has included 16 uncapped players as well as 13 who've played fewer than 10 Tests.

Despite several players making an impression during Super Rugby AU, no Western Force players were named while title favourites the Brumbies make up the bulk of the squad with 13.

Making up for last year's disappointment, Pete Samu has been named after his impressive year with the Brumbies, while shockingly Rebels No.8 Isi Naisarani and Waratahs' Jack Dempsey missed out entirely. Samu will instead be joined by the uncapped Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight while Reds skipper Liam Wright also won selection alongside Rob Valetini and Michael Hooper.

In other notable omissions, there was no space for Tevita Kuridrani or Karmichael Hunt who have both been in and out of the respective top sides this season.

Young guns Lachie Swinton, Hunter Paisami, Pone Fa'amausili and James Ramm are other uncapped players gunning for a maiden Test cap.

The unusually large squad is due to biosecuirty measures that will prohibit any late additions from joining the squad once they begin training.

"This is a really exciting day for us," Rennie said. "We've picked this squad on form and on potential and I know the whole group are chomping at the bit to get stuck in and push their case for a Wallaby jersey.

"There's a big game to come on Saturday night down in Canberra but personally, I'm really looking forward to getting out on the grass in a week's time to start putting in the work together.

"When we picked the squad, we had to consider how we will handle the rigours of the Test calendar ahead. It is obviously a big squad which is due to COVID restrictions as we can't bring players in and out but each of one them is there on merit."

Incumbent Wallabies captain Michael Hooper (99 Tests) has retained his place in the side, alongside teammate Rob Simmons, who is now the only player to have played over 100 Tests.

Rebels trio Matt To'omua (groin), Dane Haylett-Petty (groin) and Jordan Uelese (shoulder) have all been included as they await scans on their respective injuries suffered in Saturday's qualifying final loss to the Reds.

The squad will come together next Monday, following the Super Rugby AU final between the Brumbies and the Reds in Canberra.

Full Wallabies squad (* denotes uncapped players):

Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell*, Filipo Daugunu*, Pone Fa'amausili*, Folau Fainga'a, Jake Gordon, Ned Hanigan, Will Harrison, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Tom Horton*, Trevor Hosea*, Len Ikitau*, Harry Jonson-Holmes, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio*, Jack Maddocks, Tate McDermott*, Fraser McReight*, James O'Connor, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Hunter Paisami*, Matt Philip, Joe Powell, James Ramm*, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Irae Simone*, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Lachie Swinton*, Matt To'omua, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Harry Wilson*, Liam Wright, Tom Wright*.