Young talent called into Wallabies training squad ahead of France Tests

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie looks dejected after their Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup loss to the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on 31 October 2020.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie looks dejected after their Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup loss to the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on 31 October 2020.
Matt King/Getty Images)

Fourteen uncapped players will join the first Wallabies training squad for 2021, coach Dave Rennie announced Sunday, as the side begins preparations for planned Tests against France in the summer.

The 40-man squad will attend a three-day training camp on the Gold Coast next month in preparation for the international season kick-off in July.

Among the notable uncapped players in the squad are Australia sevens star Tim Anstee, who joined Super Rugby AU's Western Force this season, and former Junior Wallabies hooker Lachlan Lonergan.

Queensland Reds' new recruit Suliasi Vunivalu, a former rugby league wing who played for Melbourne Storm as they won the NRL Grand Final last season, also made the cut.

The oldest member is 34-year-old second-row forward Sitaleki Timani, who returns to the national fold for the first time since 2013, while Brumbies lock Cadeyrn Neville will be hoping for his Test debut this year at age 32.

Many of those heading to camp are younger players, with an average squad age of 25 as Rennie looks to nurture talent in the lead-up to the 2023 World Cup.

The coach said the selections were "an indication of form and an indication of potential".

"The spine of the Wallabies is there and it's just an opportunity to learn a bit more about some other guys," he told a press conference.

Three hookers who played during last year's Tests -- Folau Fainga'a, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Jordan Uelese -- were omitted from the squad.

Rennie said it was "a position we need to create more depth in" but stressed the squad was not a Wallabies team, which will be selected in June.

"It's a little message for those who aren't in the list to continue to work hard and improve because some spots are pretty competitive," he said.

"There's still a window for guys to fight their way back into it."

Captain Michael Hooper was also left out as he is currently playing in Japan.

Wallabies training squad: Allan Alaalatoa, Tim Anstee, Tom Banks, Angus Bell, Filipo Daugunu, Pone Fa'amausili, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Trevor Hosea, Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu'u, Josh Kemeny, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Alex Mafi, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Andy Muirhead, Isi Naisarani, Cadeyrn Neville, James O'Connor, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, David Porecki, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Pete Samu, Irae Simone, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachlan Swinton, Sitaleki Timani, Matt To'omua, Taniela Tupou, Seru Uru, Rob Valetini, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright.

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