Australia’s Pacific Nations Cup campaign A kicks off on Saturday against Samoa.
The Brombies captain Ryan Lonergan has been named captain of the Australian squad for Saturday’s Pacific Nations Cup match against Samoa in Suva.
The leadership qualities of Lonergan at the Super Rugby Pacific level have caught the eye of Australian coach Jason Gilmore.
Lonergan will be supported by two deputy captains – Queensland Reds winger Fraser McCrite and linebacker Reese Hodge of the Melbourne Rebels.
“I was deeply impressed by Ryan’s ability to lead the Brumbies through their successful Super Rugby Pacific campaign,” Gilmore said.
“He’s definitely the right man for the job and pairing him up against two of the already proven leaders at McReight and Hodge as the deputy leader builds us a very inspiring leadership group.”
Gilmore said a series of tough choices had to be made to settle into the squad for Saturday’s game.
“It just shows the extraordinary level of depth we currently have in Australian rugby and I think this competition will only lead to successful outcomes for the programme,” he said.
“There are a lot of players who have a point to prove in this aspect and it will be interesting to see how they play when they have the opportunity on Saturday.”
The 23-player squad consists of eight Warata, six Reds, and three each from the Rebels, the Brumbis, and the Western Power.
Andy Marinos, Chief Executive Officer, Rugby Australia, said: “This is a very welcome resumption of the Australia A program as we continue to build and develop our pathways and performance towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the golden decade that lies ahead.
“All of these guys raised their hands during this year’s Super Rugby Pacific.”
Australia A: Matt Gibbon, Billy Pollard, Tom Robertson, Ciro Oro, Ryan Smith, Tim Anstey, Fraser McCrite, Will Harris, Ryan Lonergan, Tani Edmid, Jock Campbell, Hamish Stewart, Lalakai Fukte, Mark Nawakanitawasi. Reese Hodge. Seat: Felicity Kaito, Harry Hubert, Archer Holes, Hugh Sinclair, Lange Gleeson, James Tuttle, Hudson Creighton, Dylan Petsch.