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Injuries force Eddie's hand as Fiji looms

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Test centurion James Slipper will become the third Australian to play in four World Cups named to start at tighthead prop in the Wallabies second Pool C game against Fiji in Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

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Slipper, who joins George Gregan and Adam Ashley-Cooper at the milestone, will replace the injured Taniela Tupou, while the experienced Nic White steps in for Tate McDermott at scrumhalf, with the vice-captain following the HIA protocols following the side’s opening win against Georgia last weekend.

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones said: “Fiji is the most important match of our World Cup campaign.”

“It’s another big opportunity for our young side to keep getting better and we’ll be ready on Sunday.”

Slipper will pack down in the front row with David Porecki and Angus Bell, with the athletic Nick Frost set to play his first World Cup Test, named to start in the second row alongside captain Will Skelton.

Jones has named an unchanged back row for what will be the first of two pool matches at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, with the youthful Tom Hooper, Fraser McReight and Rob Valetini the loose forward trio.

White will partner Carter Gordon as the starting halves pairing for the first time in a Test, with Samu Kerevi and Jordan Petaia to continue their impressive partnership in the midfield.

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After a Man of the Match performance in the opening game, Ben Donaldson has again been named at fullback, with Mark Nawaqanitawase and Marika Koroibete on the wings.

Melbourne’s Jordan Uelese has also recovered from injury to earn his spot as the finishing hooker, named on a pine with just two players in double digit figures for Test appearances.

The young duo of Blake Schoupp and Zane Nonggorr have earned selection as the finishing props.

Richie Arnold swaps roles with Frost for the match, named as the finishing lock, with Rob Leota to provide versatility as cover across the remainder of the forward pack.

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Port Douglas junior Issak Fines-Leleiwasa will play in his first World Cup fixture as the finishing scrumhalf, with Lalakai Foketi and Suliasi Vunivalu rounding out the matchday 23.

Australia: 15 Ben Donaldson, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Nick White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Tom Hooper, 5 Will Skelton (captain), 4 Nick Frost, 3 James Slipper, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Blake Schoupp, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu.

Date: Sunday, September 17
Venue: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne
Kick-off: 17.45 (15.45 GMT; 01.45 Monday, September 18 AEST; 03.45 Monday, September 18 FJT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa) & Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

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