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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# starting XV
Cheika's Wallabies go with Hooper-Pocock combo for RWC opener
Will Genia will start Australia’s Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji.

AUSTRALIA COACH MICHAEL Cheika has given former captain Will Genia the nod at scrum-half for their Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji.

Genia has battled back to full fitness after a serious knee injury, with similar struggles to regain his best form in the intervening period.

Waratahs number nine Nick Phipps has put Genia’s spot under pressure with stellar performances for club and country, and Cheika hinted that the role may be rotated between the two.

Cheika said: “It’s important to give everyone an opportunity early on. We’ve done that throughout our lead up to this tournament and I believe it’s a good way to go.

“Will and Nick complement one another. Nick is a very effective player and I think we saw that in the South Africa match when he came off the bench and lit up the game.

“Will has returned from injury in great shape and has been training really well since he came back into the squad.”

Israel Folau headlines a group of seven World Cup debutants in the XV, which also includes fly-half Bernard Foley.

Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham has already said that the green and gold will field a completely different XV for their game against Uruguay just four days later.

Australia

15. Israel Folau
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
13. Tevita Kuridrani
12. Matt Giteau
11. Rob Horne
10. Bernard Foley
9. Will Genia

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1. Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Kane Douglas
5. Rob Simmons
6. Scott Fardy
7. Michael Hooper
8. David Pocock

Replacements:

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

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