Wallabies hand To'omua No.10 jersey for Georgia clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Australia coach Michael Cheika has made wholesale changes to his Wallabies side to face Georgia on Friday, resting captain Michael Hooper as he eyes a potential quarterfinal blockbuster against England or France.
Only four players survive from the starting XV that beat Uruguay 45-10 on Saturday with Cheika shifting the exciting teenager Jordan Petaia from left to right wing and veteran flanr David Pocock taking the captain’s armband.
The hulking Petaia, Australia’s youngest ever World Cup player at 19, impressed against the South Americans, crashing over for one try and creating another.
Cheika also moved Matt To’omua from inside centre to flyhalf in what will be a first combination with scrumhalf Nic White and the 11th halfback pairing used by Australia since the 2015 World Cup.
Up front, it will be a special day for prop Sekope Kepu, who will become only the sixth player to win 110 caps for Australia.
Former skipper regains the armband in the absence of his “Pooper” partner-in-crime Hooper, who is rested ahead of the possible last-eight clash in Oita.
Hooper will be on the bench for only the seventh time in his career. He will win his 99th cap if he comes onto the pitch.
Friday’s encounter will be the first Test meeting between Australia and Georgia.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 James O’Connor, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt To’omua, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda. 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Will Genia, 22 Christian Lealiifano, 23 Dane Haylett-Petty.
Date: Friday, October 11
Venue: Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka Prefecture
Kick-off: 19.45 (10.45 GMT; 14.45 Georgia time; 21.45 AEST)
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)