Kurtley Beale (centre) in action for the Wallabies.
Kurtley Beale has been recalled to the Wallabies set-up by new coach Joe Schmidt. Image by David Rowland/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby union

Kurtley Beale in Schmidt’s new-look Wallabies squad

June 21, 2024

Veteran playmaker Kurtley Beale has been recalled to the Wallabies squad in Joe Schmidt’s much-anticipated first team-naming since replacing Eddie Jones as coach.

Beale has been impressive since linking up with the Western Force in the Super Rugby Pacific competition in April after being cleared of sexual assault allegations.

But the 35-year-old’s inclusion in Schmidt’s 38-man squad for Australia’s upcoming Tests against Wales and Georgia was one of the bigger surprises of Friday’s announcement.

The one-time World Player of the Year nominee hasn’t featured for the Wallabies since the 2021 spring tour of Europe.

The versatile Beale, who has played fullback, wing, centre and five-eighth among his 95 Tests, was among 17 backs named, with 21 forwards included.

NRL-bound five-eighth Carter Gordon and winger Mark Nawaqanitawase were overlooked, with only 14 players remaining from Jones’s ill-fated 33-strong World Cup squad.

Carter Gordon
 There’s no room for five-eighth Carter Gordon after his code switch to join the NRL with Gold Coast. Image by Andrew Cornaga/AAP PHOTOS 

Brumbies halfback Ryan Lonergan was another omission, with Schmidt preferring to bring NSW Waratahs captain Jake Gordon back in from the cold. 

There were also recalls for Brumbies No.10 Noah Lolesio, and Reds back-rowers Liam Wright and Harry Wilson – who suffered a broken arm mid-season. 

Rebels lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto won selection despite missing the back-end of the Super season following foot surgery.

Schmidt didn’t consider overseas-based players, while others including Max Jorgensen, Angus Bell, Rob Leota, Lachlan Lonergan and Dave Porecki were ruled out through injury.

Queensland teammates, playmaker Tom Lynagh and hooker Josh Nasser have followed in their fathers’ footsteps, named in their first national squad. 

Michael Lynagh and Brendan Nasser pulled on the gold jersey during the 1980s and 1990s.

Reds prop Alex Hodgman has taken a step closer to becoming the fourth player to represent Australia and New Zealand, qualifying for the Wallabies through his Fijian-Australian father after four Tests with the All Blacks in 2020.

Lynagh, Nasser and Hodgman are among 13 uncapped players included as Schmidt looks to move on from the disastrous Jones reign.

Darby Lancaster
 Darby Lancaster’s switch from sevens to 15-a-side has paid off with a Wallabies call-up. Image by Rob Prezioso/AAP PHOTOS 

Forwards Angus Blyth, Charlie Cale, Isaac Kailea, Ryan Smith and Jeremy Williams have a chance to earn their first caps along with backs David Feliuai, Josh Flook, Darby Lancaster, Dylan Pietsch and Hamish Stewart.

Winger Lancaster, 21, only made his Super debut with Melbourne this season but was preferred ahead of Reds try-scoring whiz-kid Tim Ryan, with Brumbies speedster Corey Toole left out to play sevens in the Paris Olympics, if selected.

Wallabies squad:

Forwards – Allan Alaalatoa, Angus Blyth, Charlie Cale, Matt Faessler, Nick Frost, Langi Gleeson, Alex Hodgman, Tom Hooper, Isaac Kailea, Fraser McReight, Josh Nasser, Zane Nonggorr, Billy Pollard, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Ryan Smith, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Jeremy Williams, Harry Wilson, Liam Wright.

Backs – Kurtley Beale, Filipo Daugunu, Ben Donaldson, David Feliuai,
Josh Flook, Jake Gordon, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Darby Lancaster, Noah Lolesio, Tom Lynagh, Tate McDermott, Hunter Paisami, Dylan Pietsch, Hamish Stewart, Nic White, Tom Wright.