Veteran lock Nathan Sharpe was axed on Tuesday from the Wallabies squad for Saturday's clash with the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland, throwing his World Cup dreams into disarray.
The Western Force captain, who has played 95 Tests, was overlooked by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans in favour of returning veteran Dan Vickerman in a 24-man squad for the Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup Test at Eden Park.
With Waratahs rookie Sitaleki Timani also included, Sharpe's chances of featuring at the World Cup next month have taken a significant nosedive.
Vickerman, who played his first Test in about three years in last month's upset loss to Samoa, will vie with Queenslanders James Horwill and Rob Simmons for the second-row starting roles.
Robbie Deans' touring group includes 20 of the players who formed the match night squad in Australia's dominant 39-20 victory over South Africa in Sydney on July 23.
New Zealand thrashed South Africa 40-7 last weekend and the All Blacks are set to be close to full strength for Saturday's match at Eden Park, where they have not lost a Test in 17 years.
Scrumhalf Luke Burgess is on the plane after proving his fitness following rehabilitation for his injured hand, which he broke during training ahead of the Waratahs' Super Rugby play-off against the Blues in Auckland five weeks ago.
Wing Lachie Turner is the other player to make the squad who didn't feature against the Springboks. Turner is included after impressive performances with Sydney club Eastwood, while Vickerman also featured strongly for Sydney University last weekend.
Vickerman, a 56-Test veteran, returned to the Wallabies for the first time since 2008 in the loss to Samoa after spending three years at Cambridge University.
Timani made his international debut against Samoa after some impressive performances in the Super 15 for the Waratahs.
The Wallabies squad will fly to Auckland on Wednesday with a key psychological edge in the lead up to the World Cup later this year at stake, as well as the immediate rewards of the Bledisloe Cup - the symbol of trans-Tasman rugby rivalry
The Australian team will head to South Africa after the Auckland match, with the squad for the match against the Springboks at Durban on August 13 extended to 26 players.
Wallabies squad: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Pekahou Cowan, Rocky Elsom, Anthony Fainga'a, Saia Fainga'a, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, James Horwill, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, James O'Connor, David Pocock, Rob Simmons, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner, Dan Vickerman.
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