The biggest winners and losers from Wallabies squad
THERE are five uncapped players and plenty of surprises in Michael Cheika's 32 man Wallabies squad to take on Ireland in the June Test series.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has already named a full strength squad as the world's No 2 side heads Down Under.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from the announcement.
At the start of the season Fainga'a wasn't even the Brumbies' first choice hooker, but an injury to Josh Mann-Rea provided an opening and that's all the 23-year-old needed.
After coming off the bench against the Rebels back in March, Fainga'a has started every match since.
The fact that he's been packing down alongside Wallabies props Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa has helped his cause too.
Fainga'a has also had a long relationship with Cheika.
He was in the Waratahs' under-20s side when the Wallabies coach was at NSW and right from the outset made an impression.
"Folau's really done well," Cheika said.
"I had him a little bit in the under-20s at the Waratahs when he was there and I think he's got a good balance.
"A good life away from rugby as well.
"We had him in (Wallabies) camp, a week with us last year before a tour, he handled himself pretty well and he's been playing there in between Scotty and Allan down in Canberra.
"He's got a good bit of swagger, I like his attitude and I think he'll take an opportunity given with both hands.
"Having him working with those two guys will help him understand the level that's required."
Fainga'a's workrate and set piece work is solid but he also possesses a bit of X factor.
Anyone that saw him sprint down the left touchline at GIO Stadium against the Reds and dive spectacularly in an attempt to ground the ball would have been left impressed.
He didn't score the try, but the incredible act of athleticism was something we haven't seen from our hookers in a long time.
Fainga'a is banned from Super Rugby this weekend after his silly headbutt in South Africa but will be available for the first Test on June 9.
This bloke is just about the story of the year.
Paenga-Amosa was a part of the Rebels' wider squad in pre-season when Reds coach Brad Thorn rung him and asked if he'd like to join him in Brisbane.
The 22-year-old from Auckland dropped everything and started driving.
Not just your casual trip to the local pub either.
No, from Melbourne to Brisbane and he's been in the fast lane ever since and starting for the Reds for the majority of the year.
His standout performance?
Going toe to toe with the world's best hooker, Malcolm Marx of the Lions.
"I've seen Brandon go up against Malcolm Marx and perform right at the level," Cheika said.
"For a guy who's come out of club rugby with Southern Districts in NSW, he's gone on and played NRC, got his opportunity and was spotted by the Reds and has taken that opportunity with both hands.
"It's really good for him and now his challenge will be to get himself in the match 23 and from what I've heard about him - I've only had a small amount of contact with him - he's going to do everything he can to be in that position."
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If you haven't watched Banks move over the last two weeks, I don't blame you.
But in the early hours of the Aussie morning, the Brumbies fullback has been in scintillating form in South Africa, scoring three brilliant tries - including one of the best of the year during their win over the Bulls last weekend.
Banks' big positive is that he has genuine gas.
You can't put a price on pace and he's one of the quickest in Australia.
He can also play on the wing and his kicking game could prove useful in June against the Irish, who have two of the best tactical kickers in the world in Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton.
The Rebels flyer has been one of the quiet movers in 2018.
Injuries, form and a potent backline has seen Naivalu restricted to just a few starting appearances.
But like Banks, Naivalu is a try scorer and he's never let Cheika down in a Wallabies jersey.
In his last Test, Naivalu scored a brace in quick time against Italy in Brisbane but another injury ended his campaign in 2017.
He's also scored against the Irish.
He's scored more tries that any Australian in Super Rugby this season, but Naiyaravoro has been left out of the squad for two reasons.
First, he's not going to be in Australia beyond 2018 after signing for Northampton Saints.
If a Rugby World Cup wasn't 16 months away, he'd have likely earnt a spot.
The second reason is his dodgy defence.
Cheika travelled to the northern hemisphere earlier in the year to take notes on the performances of Ireland during the Six Nations.
Key to Ireland's game plan is their tactical kicking and the methodical way they carry it out.
After naming his squad Cheika spoke of the need to have a balanced back three combination and when fullback Israel Folau isn't a noted kicker it is important that your wingers have that strong to their bow.
"We've got very, very good attacking wingers and we're looking for the all round component to make sure that we're solid in relation to our D and our kicking game," Cheika said.
"The kicking game that will be coming from the Ireland tour."
He's a brute with the ball but Naiyaravoro has often been caught napping in defence and was brutally exposed last Saturday against the Chiefs when Toni Pulu scored twice.
While Naiyaravoro has been the winger scoring all the tries, the axing of Speight shows the strength building in Australia's back three stocks.
Speight has been a regular with the Wallabies over the last couple of seasons.
But, in truth, he's never quite taken his chances on the international stage.
The No 1 reason Speight has been left out is his dodgy defence.
If you need proof, look at his work against the Jaguares back in April.
Twice Speight was caught rushing out of his line, when all he needed to do was his trust his inside man.
They were moments that have lost the Brumbies games.
"It's such a big contest there around wing and fullback positions that there's a few unlucky campaigners out there," Cheika said.
"Henry who has done a lot of work for us, Taqele's been in good form and also some of the young fellas who have been developing like Izaia Perese and Cam Clark."
Douglas' omission is down to one fundamental reason: he won't be in Australia next year.
The disappointing thing is that the 28-year-old is back to his best form after a long comeback following his knee injury in the World Cup final in 2015.
While he's no specialist in the lineout, what Douglas brings is vital to any team.
He hits rucks, he tackles hard and leads the defensive line speed.
Given the threadbare nature of the Wallabies' backrow stocks, Timani's absence is telling.
Timani is a beast of a physical specimen but we've seldom seen him deliver regularly at either Test or Super Rugby level.
His axing is fair.
Perhaps it's the wakeup call he needs to unleash and force his way back in.
Hookers: Folau Fainga'a, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Jordan Uelese
Props: Sekope Kepu, Tom Robertson, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Allan Alaalatoa
Locks: Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold
Backrowers: Michael Hooper (c), David Pocock, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Ned Hanigan
Halfbacks: Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell
Five-eighths: Bernard Foley
Centres: Kurtley Beale, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Curtis Rona
Outside backs: Israel Folau, Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Jack Maddocks, Marika Koroibete, Sefa Naivalu