Elsom axed as Wallabies' captain
QUEENSLAND Reds skipper James Horwill has replaced Rocky Elsom as captain of the Wallabies heading into the Rugby World Cup.
The shock announcement came as coach Robbie Deans unveiled the 30-man Australian squad he hopes will claim a record third William Webb Ellis trophy.
Horwill - who led the Reds to the Super 15 title earlier this year - will join Elsom, Will Genia and David Pocock in the leadership group.
Elsom's axing from the captaincy role was the major talking point of the squad announcement, with Deans unveiling a largely expected World Cup roster.
Matt Giteau - who earlier had taken to Twitter to announce his dumping from the squad - was not included, replaced with NSW Waratahs' Berrick Barnes.
Benn Robinson succumbed to injury, while periphery Wallabies' Dean Mumm and Lachie Turner will have to wait on the injury replacement list.
However, the news wasn't all bad for a number of fringe squad members.
35-year-old Reds' flanker Radike Samo made the cut, while rookie Nick Phipps was named as back-up to Will Genia.
Deans said he and the Wallabies coaching staff had been meticulous with the naming of the squad.
“It was critical that we provided ourselves with cover for every conceivable eventuality in terms of injury,” Deans said.
“Looking at every scenario imaginable, and how that impacted on the squad, and our ability to still field a combination suited to the way we want to play, was a critical part of the selection process.
“We are fortunate to boast a lot of versatility amongst our backs especially but given the tournament regulations around replacements; additional cover at halfback and hooker was non-negotiable.”
Australia’s 30-man World Cup squad will assemble in Brisbane in preparation for Saturday week’s Tri-Nations finale against the All Blacks.
Wallabies' 30-man World Cup Squad:
Ben Alexander (Eastwood/Brumbies), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs/Brumbies), Berrick Barnes (Sydney University/HSBC Waratahs), Kurtley Beale (Randwick/HSBC Waratahs), Luke Burgess (Sydney University/HSBC Waratahs), Quade Cooper (Souths/Queensland Reds), Rocky Elsom (Randwick/Brumbies), Anthony Fainga’a (Souths/Queensland Reds), Saia Fainga’a (Souths/Queensland Reds), Will Genia (Norths/Queensland Reds), Scott Higginbotham (Wests/Queensland Reds), Rob Horne (Southern Districts/HSBC Waratahs), James Horwill [c] (University of Queensland/Queensland Reds), Digby Ioane (Sunnybank/Queensland Reds), Sekope Kepu (Randwick/HSBC Waratahs), Salesi Ma’afu (West Harbour/Brumbies), Pat McCabe (Warringah/Brumbies), Ben McCalman (Sydney University/Western Force), Drew Mitchell (Balmain/HSBC Waratahs), Stephen Moore (University of Queensland/Brumbies), James O’Connor (Cottesloe/Western Force), Wycliff Palu (Manly/HSBC Waratahs), Nick Phipps (Sydney University/Melbourne Rebels), David Pocock (Western Force), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Parramatta/HSBC Waratahs), Radike Samo (Southern Districts/Queensland Reds), Nathan Sharpe (Rockingham/Western Force), Rob Simmons (Sunnybank/Queensland Reds), James Slipper (Gold Coast Breakers/Queensland Reds), Dan Vickerman (Sydney University/HSBC Waratahs).