The spooky image that 'proves' the Wallabies are doomed

Eagle-eyed observers have given superstitious Wallabies fans cause for concern after pointing out a dark omen at their World Cup squad announcement.

The Wallabies unveiled their squad on Friday, with coach Michael Cheika springing a few selection bombshells that took many experts by surprise.

However, it was an eery image involving coach Michael Cheika (or a good one if you're an All Blacks fan) that stole the spotlight.

Pictures of the Wallabies mentor addressing the gathered media began circulating online, with keen observers spotting something rather eery.

Cheika has three microphone stands in front of him, each with a number at the base of them: three, six and zero - in that order.

The image of Michael Cheika that could be considered a bad omen. Pic: Getty

So what you might be asking yourself.

Well, the Wallabies' Bledisloe Cup hopes were emphatically ended for another year last weekend when they were thumped by the All Blacks at Eden Park.

The scoreline? 36-0. Three, six and zero. In that order.

Hopefully for the sake of the Wallabies and their fans, Friday’s incident was just a spooky coincidence and not a sign of what to expect at the World Cup in Japan.

Oldest and youngest players picked for Wallabies

From the 31-man party that was unveiled on Friday, twelve of the squad were involved in the 2015 World Cup campaign that saw them lose to the All Blacks in the final at Twickenham.

Seven of those players were also involved in the 2011 tournament.

A born-again James O'Connor attended 2011 but missed 2015.

O'Connor is among a jam of midfield backs announced by coach Michael Cheika.

However, it was the oldest and youngest players to feature in an Australian World Cup squad - Adam Ashley-Cooper and Jordan Petaia that captured the most attention.

Jordan Petaia and Adam Ashley-Cooper. Image: Getty

Ashley-Cooper has been described as a perfect mentor for the likes of boom midfield back Petaia, with coach Michael Cheika confident he has an ideal blend of Wallabies to contest the Rugby World Cup.

Boasting an Australian tournament-record 45 caps per player, Cheika's Test-hardened group features three centurions in Ashley-Cooper, halfback Will Genia and prop Sekope Kepu. Two others poised to raise three figures in Japan are captain Michael Hooper and lock Rob Simmons.

Ashley-Cooper, 35, is the most venerable and had been widely regarded as a long shot at joining George Gregan as the only four-time World Cup Wallabies.

Cheika revealed the 118-Test veteran was selected because he shaped as a perfect sounding board for uncapped 19-year-old Petaia and more than half the squad who will be making their global tournament debut.

"If you look at the composition of the squad, 18 have never been to a World Cup," Cheika said.

"We'll definitely be looking at those other 13 to have an impact. That little bit of extra experience makes younger players who haven't been there feel comfortable enough to express themselves and go for it.

"Players like Ashley-Cooper help that happen. I'm big on the complementary nature of teams."

Cheika said Petaia had been on his radar for 18 months and the gifted Queensland attacker came close to earning a first Test cap last year.

The teenager suffered a serious foot injury in early March and has needed recent club rugby to prove his fitness.

Depth of Wallabies could be tested

Nine of Cheika's squad have started a Test at inside or outside centre and Petaia is poised to become the 10th.

He has also named a full complement of three hookers and four locks, leaving other positions thin on numbers.

There are just two halfbacks - Will Genia and Nic White - with Cheika unwilling to reveal who else could be converted as cover for the specialist role.

Among just five loose forwards is veteran David Pocock who hasn't played since March because of injury.

Michael Hooper will lead Michael Cheika's Wallabies side as Australia's captain. Pic: Getty

Notable absentees include fullback Tom Banks, halfback Joe Powell, hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and flankers Liam Wright and Luke Jones, who will work with the squad as train-on players at a 10-day preparation camp in New Caledonia.

Cheika described phone calls to omitted players as "emotional" but praised their willingness to contribute.

"You feel guilty for leaving them out but you're so excited and proud that your players will give you everything, even when you deliver them news that will really affect them."

The Wallabies have a final hitout against Samoa in Sydney on September 7, two weeks out from their opening group game against Fiji in Sapporo. The other pool opponents are Wales, Uruguay and Georgia.


Backs: Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jordan Petaia, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, James O'Connor, Samu Kerevi, Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Will Genia.

Forwards: Isi Naisarani, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper (capt), David Pocock, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Tolu Latu, Folau Fainga'a, Jordan Uelese.

With AAP