Super Rugby-Winning Queensland Reds Dominate Australian Selection
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The Queensland Reds' outstanding Super Rugby season has been recognised by the Australian selectors.
Less than 24 hours after clinching their first Super title of the professional era with victory against the Crusaders, 15 of their players have been named in the Wallabies' 40-man training squad.
"It's fair reward for a great performance," said Australia coach Robbie Deans at this morning's press conference in Brisbane.
"We haven't had a lot of recent success at Super rugby level, so the step that the Reds have taken is real. And that belief will come forward with us," he said.
"It was a great effort and we obviously hope to run off that."
Reds forward Radike Samo has capped a remarkable comeback to top flight football.
Samo celebrated his 35th birthday on the same day as the Reds' Grand Final victory.
He can now look forward to pulling on a Wallabies jersey for the first time since 2004.
"His performances speak for themselves," said Deans of the player who returned to Australia last year after several seasons in France.
"I guess we haven't seen him playing here for a while but he's been in the game and he's obviously in great shape. He's turning the clock back in many ways. He's shown that he wants it. He's shown that he's got more to give at this level and he's still excited about playing at this level."
Test incumbents Berrick Barnes and Drew Mitchell, who are recovering from injury, were among the notable omissions.
"We didn't consider them," said Deans of the New South Wales Waratahs backs.
"Other players we didn't consider were Rob Horne and Richard Brown, who has got a shoulder complaint."
The Wallabies open the winter test season against Samoa at Sydney's Olympic Stadium on Sunday July 17.
Wallabies squad: Rocky Elsom (c), Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Ben Daley, Rod Davies, Dave Dennis, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Will Genia, Mark Gerrard, Matt Giteau, James Hanson, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, James Horwill, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Salesi Ma'afu, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, Luke Morahan, Dean Mumm, James O'Connor, Wycliff Palu, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota Nau, Beau Robinson, Benn Robinson, Radike Samo, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner, Dan Vickerman.
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