The Wallabies kick start their World Cup campaign against Fiji in Cardiff tonight.
The Wallabies are strong favourites for a win over the Pacific Islanders, but after Japan’s victory against the Springboks on Saturday night, the Australians will not be taking the game lightly.
Head coach Michael Cheika named the 23-man team that will face the Fijians, who met England in the opening match of the World Cup. The Wallabies will start the match with seven Rugby World Cup debutants: Scott Sio, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani and Israel Folau.
Dynamic duo Michael Hooper and David Pocock, who starred in the Wallabies Rugby Championship in August, will again partner as twin openside flankers. Chieka believes that the combination of Hooper and Pocock will help the Wallabies to make a successful World Cup tournament. They will be playing in front of star fullback Israel Folau and veteran Will Genia at halfback.
“I’m not trying to claim there is any brilliant rocket science behind it. You just have two very good players,” Cheika said.
Fiji have also included some big names, who will potentially cause havoc for the Australian side, including winger Nemani Nadolo and flyhalf Ben Volavola.
Fijian coach John McKee made three changes to his side, after flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu was suspended for a dangerous tackle against England.
WALLABIES Team: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Matt Giteau, 11. Rob Horne, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Will Genia, 8. David Pocock, 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Rob Simmons, 4. Kane Douglas, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio.
Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. James Slipper, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Will Skelton, 20. Dean Mumm, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Kurtley Beale. – Ellen Conroy
Top photo from David Molly’s Flickr photostream.