Deans axes Gerrard

Mark Gerrard was the shock omission when new Australia coach Robbie Deans announced his 30-man squad.

Gerrard has been a regular fixture for the Wallabies in recent years and would have expected a call-up after a solid Super 14.

Meanwhile, his Brumbies team-mate, prop Ben Alexander, was a surprise inclusion in a squad that featured seven new members, namely: Luke Burgess, Dean Mumm, Lachie Turner, Ryan Cross, Richard Brown, Peter Hynes and Alexander.

Several players were not considered because of injury – Dan Vickerman, Chris Latham, Drew Mitchell, Scott Staniforth, Hugh McMeniman and Greg Holmes. Stirling Mortlock retains the captaincy.

“I’m delighted to be here,” said Deans. “My aim is to make a significant contribution to what is already a proud Wallabies heritage. There are a lot of new faces in this squad, in both the playing ranks and the coaching staff.

“I look forward to working with the entire team ahead of our first assignment against Ireland in Melbourne. Our ultimate goal is the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, but that is a long way into the future. In the interim there is a lot of hard work to be done.”

Fowards- Ben Alexander, Al Baxter, Richard Brown, Mark Chisholm, Matt Dunning, Rocky Elsom, Adam Freier, Stephen Hoiles, James Horwill, Stephen Moore, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Paul, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe, George Smith, Phil Waugh.

Backs- Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Luke Burgess, Sam Cordingley, Ryan Cross, Matt Giteau, Peter Hynes, Digby Ioane, Stirling Mortlock (captain), Brett Sheehan, Cameron Shepherd, Lote Tuqiri, Lachie Turner.

(Players not considered through injury – Greg Holmes, Chris Latham, Drew Mitchell, Hugh McMeniman, Scott Staniforth, Dan Vickerman)

The Australia A squad for the IRB Pacific Nations Cup was also named.

Forwards- Al Campbell (Brumbies), Mitchell Chapman (Brumbies), Pek Cowan (Western Force), Sean Hardman (Queensland Reds), Matt Hodgson (Western Force), Leroy Houston (Queensland Reds), Van Humphries (Queensland Reds), Peter Kimlin (Brumbies), Poutasi Luafutu (Queensland Reds), Tai McIsaac (Western Force), Salesi Ma’afu (Brumbies), Julian Salvi (Brumbies), Guy Shepherdson (Brumbies), Jerry Yanuyanutawa (Sydney University).

Backs- Matt Carraro (NSW Waratahs), Scott Daruda (Western Force), Francis Fainifo (Brumbies), Mark Gerrard (Brumbies), Daniel Halangahu (NSW Waratahs), Josh Holmes (Brumbies), Ben Lucas (Queensland Reds), Sam Norton-Knight (NSW Waratahs), Patrick Phibbs (Brumbies), Tyrone Smith (Brumbies), Timana Tahu (NSW Waratahs), Morgan Turinui (Queensland Reds).