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Cooper skids into Wallabies contention

Returning to the Wallabies squad after injuring his knee in last year's World Cup ... Cooper.

Returning to the Wallabies squad after injuring his knee in last year's World Cup ... Cooper. Photo: Getty Images

QUADE COOPER was fast-tracked into the Wallabies' train-on squad last night because of concerns that Kurtley Beale, the first choice Test five-eighth, might not be able to play against Scotland in Newcastle in June 5.

And, as revealed in The Sun-Herald, David Pocock will captain the team for their first international of the season, with Will Genia expected to be his deputy.

Even before Test skipper James Horwill injured his hamstring during Saturday night's Reds-Brumbies match, the Wallabies selectors had planned to rest him for Newcastle, instead scheduling his return for the following Saturday in Brisbane against Six Nations champions Wales.

Out ... James Horwill hobbles into  camp yesterday.

Out ... James Horwill hobbles into camp yesterday. Photo: Mick Tsikas

The Australian Rugby Union has approved Pocock taking over as skipper, a role he was given for the match against the Barbarians at Twickenham last November.

But there is now uncertainty when Horwill, who is scheduled to have scans in Sydney today, will return. The seriousness of the injury is shown by the selectors opting against including him last night in the large 39-man squad.

The most likely scenario is that Horwill, who arrived at the Wallabies camp at Coogee last night to be assessed, will miss all four June internationals but be back for the Reds' final three Super Rugby round matches in

late June-July. Horwill's place in the Test front row is expected to be taken by veteran 34-year-old Nathan Sharpe, who is in line for his 102nd Test cap.

Beale is another on the doubtful list after being an early casualty in the Rebels' 66-24 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday, where he aggravated a long-standing shoulder complaint. Beale was scheduled to be the Test No.10 against Scotland, due to the unavailability of James O'Connor.

Cooper was also expected to be held back until the Rugby Championship later in the year when the Wallabies play New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, as he had only been involved in two games this season after seven months out recovering from a knee reconstruction.

After his erratic World Cup performances last season, there was consideration at ARU level to bringing back Cooper slowly, but after playing 80 minutes against the Brumbies on Saturday night and half a game the previous week, the Test selectors believe he is ready to fill the void against Scotland. The other option at No.10 is the Waratahs' Berrick Barnes, who after several erratic efforts had a much improved performance against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

As expected, it is a training squad full of new names, including 15 players who have yet to play for the Wallabies.

The biggest name to miss out is former Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom, but an injury-marred season gave the selectors no choice but to overlook him.

The unluckiest is Reds utility Ben Lucas, who was going to be picked but injury concerns make it uncertain when he will be able to train.

The bolter is Rebels second-rower Cadeyrn Neville, who has played only a few Super Rugby games. For many years, Neville competed in international youth rowing events, and to improve his aerobic strength in 2009 he tried out with the Manly club, starting on the bench in fourth grade. The next season he was elevated to first grade where he was sighted by the Rebels. Beside him will be his Rebels second-row partner Hugh Pyle, another newcomer.

Brumby Michael Hooper will be Pocock's openside breakaway back-up, with Liam Gill, his closest rival, instead captaining the under-20s at the world championships.

There is a strong Waratahs representation, with 11 players who return from South Africa being involved - the most unexpected being promising utility back Bernard Foley and second-rower Kane Douglas. Alongside them are Adam Ashley-Cooper, Barnes, Dave Dennis, Rob Horne, Sekope Kepu, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Sitaleki Timani.

The training squad will be culled to about 30 for the Test series against Wales.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45Leicester City Stadium
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
View all

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