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Rugby World Cup 2019: Petaia set for Wallabies debut as Australia make 12 changes

Jordan Petaia will become the youngest player to represent Australia at the Rugby World Cup after being named to debut in the Wallabies’ must-win game against Uruguay.

Petaia, 19, will make his international bow in Oita on Saturday and break the record held by Joe Roff since his appearance against Canada in a pool match at the 1995 edition.

The highly rated teenager also becomes the first Australian to debut in a World Cup since Berrick Barnes in 2007.

It is a long-awaited first cap for Petaia, who was set to make his maiden appearance against Italy last year before a hamstring injury delayed his bow for the 2015 World Cup runners-up.

The uncapped winger’s selection is part of 12 changes to the starting XV following last weekend’s 29-25 defeat to Wales in Tokyo – captain Michael Hooper, Dane Haylett-Petty and Allan Alaalatoa the only survivors from the Pool D blockbuster.

Nic White and Christian Lealiifano, who were surprisingly dropped for the Wales match having played in the opening victory over Fiji, have been restored to Michael Cheika’s line-up.

Matt To’omua will start at 12 following two impressive performances off the bench, but there is no place for playmaker Bernard Foley in the matchday squad as David Pocock is named among the replacements.

Folau Fainga’a, Jack Dempsey and Tevita Kuridrani also come into the starting side, with James Slipper, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Kurtley Beale elevated from the bench.

Australia are second in Pool D after two games, three points adrift of leaders Wales and a point above Georgia with two fixtures remaining.

 

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt To’omua, Jordan Petaia, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White; James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Luke Salakaia-Loto, Michael Hooper, Jack Dempsey.

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Sekope Kepu, Taniela Tupou, Rory Arnold, David Pocock, Will Genia, James O’Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper.

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