Pool D rivals England, Argentina and Samoa have named their squads for Rugby World Cup 2023, albeit with the latter keeping one spot free on their plane to France.
Samoa coach Seilala Mapusua has filled 32 of the 33 places available to him for the showpiece tournament in France, with Michael Alaalatoa and Chris Vui selected as co-captains.
Mapusua’s England counterpart, Steve Borthwick has selected an experienced squad but has found room for hooker Theo Dan, who made his test debut against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Michael Cheika, meanwhile – preparing for his third Rugby World Cup as a coach – has found a place in his squad for prop Francisco Gómez Kodela, who is in line to make his tournament debut at 38.
Mapusua has included several players who are eligible for Samoa due to the birthright amendment, including Charlie Faumuina and Christian Leali’ifano who are both now in line to appear at a second Rugby World Cup.
Faumuina played for New Zealand at RWC 2015 while Leali’ifano was part of the Australia squad that reached the quarter-finals in Japan four years later.
Co-captains Alaalatoa and Vui are also returning for their second tournament, having appeared for Samoa at RWC 2019.
Forwards: Michael Alaalatoa (co-captain), Paul Alo-Emile, Charlie Faumuina, Jordan Lay, Seilala Lam, Sama Malolo, Luteru Tolai, Brian Alainuuese, Theo McFarland, Sam Slade, Chris Vui (co-captain), Sootala Faasoo, Miracle Fai’ilagi, Fritz Lee, Steven Luatua, Alamanda Motuga, Taleni Seu, Sa Jordan Taufua.
Backs: Ere Enari, Melani Matavao, Jonathan Taumateine, Christian Leali’ifano, Lima Sopoaga, Alai D’Angelo Leuila, Tumua Manu, Duncan Paiaaua, Ulupano Junior Seuteni, Nigel Ah Wong, Ed Fidow, Neria Fomai, Benjamin Lam, Danny Toala.
Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs have been selected for a fourth Rugby World Cup in a squad boasting 19 forwards and 14 backs.
A further 14 players have experienced at least one previous edition of the tournament, including captain Owen Farrell who is set to appear at his third.
Farrell will be assisted by vice-captains Ellis Genge and Lawes. Dan is the least experienced player in the squad with one cap, while Henry Arundell, 20, is the youngest.
Coach Borthwick believes confirming his squad early in August will bring “a clarity and certainty to the group, allowing the players as much time as possible to settle and develop as a squad”.
He added: “Rugby World Cups involve unique challenges in terms of the demands on players, the need for squad flexibility and the limited number of squad places available.
“France 2023 is no different, but I am confident we have selected a squad of 33 that is well able to meet those challenges and leave us best placed to be at our most competitive in this exciting tournament.”
Forwards: Dan Cole, Ellis Genge, Joe Marler, Bevan Rodd, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Theo Dan, Jamie George, Jack Walker, Ollie Chessum, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, George Martin, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Lewis Ludlam, David Ribbans, Billy Vunipola, Jack Willis.
Backs: Danny Care, Jack van Poortvliet, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Marcus Smith, Elliot Daly, Ollie Lawrence, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Henry Arundell, Max Malins, Freddie Steward, Anthony Watson.
Nicolás Sánchez and Agustín Creevy will play in their fourth Rugby World Cup after coach Michael Cheika included the experienced duo in his squad for France 2023.
Kodela, at 38 the second oldest in the squad, will play in his first Rugby World Cup in a squad that has 10 players that will play in their third tournament and seven that will appear for a second time.
The squad contains two Olympic bronze medallists in Lautaro Bazán Vélez and Rodrigo Isgro and two gold medallists from the 2018 Youth Olympic Games – Juan Martín González and Lucio Cinti.
Forwards: Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Francisco Gómez Kodela, Joel Sclavi, Thomas Gallo, Eduardo Bello, Julián Montoya (captain), Agustín Creevy, Ignacio Ruiz, Matías Alemanno, Tomás Lavanini, Guido Petti, Facundo Isa, Pablo Matera, Juan Martín González, Santiago Grondona, Marcos Kremer, Rodrigo Bruni, Pedro Rubiolo.
Backs: Gonzalo Bertranou, Tomás Cubelli, Lautaro Bazán Vélez, Santiago Carreras, Nicolás Sánchez, Santiago Chocobares, Lucio Cinti, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Matías Moroni, Emiliano Boffelli, Mateo Carreras, Rodrigo Isgró, Juan Cruz Mallía, Martín Bogado, Juan Imhoff
SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS