KEO News Wire

Rugby World Cup 2019: Australia captain Hooper benched as Cheika makes 10 changes

Australia coach Michael Cheika has made 10 changes for the Wallabies’ final Rugby World Cup Pool D fixture against Georgia on Friday.

Cheika’s side could already be assured of a place in the quarter-finals if Fiji do not beat Wales on Wednesday, though the Wallabies will likely need a victory to stand a chance of securing first place and avoiding a potential tie with England in the last eight.

Five players have retained their place from the 45-10 win over Uruguay last time out, with captain Michael Hooper handed a rest, though he could come on from the bench to make his 99th Test appearance.

David Pocock will captain the Wallabies in Shizuoka, with Jack Dempsey, Nic White, Matt To’omua, Kurtley Beale and Jordan Petaia staying in the team.

To’omua, who played at 12 against Uruguay, will feature at fly-half, becoming the third different player to start at 10 for Australia in the last three matches, as Bernard Foley – who started in the position against Wales – again misses out.

Wing Petaia became the youngest player to feature in a World Cup for the Wallabies when he made his Test debut against Uruguay, though the 19-year-old has been shifted to the right, with Marika Koroibete coming in on the opposite flank.

Tevita Kuridrani scored twice last time out, but there is no room for him in the 23-man squad for Australia’s first competitive match against Georgia.

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Jordan Petaia, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua, Nic White; Scott Sio, Tolu Latu, Sekope Kepu, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, Jack Dempsey, David Pocock, Isi Naisarani.

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Michael Hooper, Will Genia, Christian Lealiifano, Dane Haylett-Petty. News wire is powered by opta

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