In Australia’s Rugby World Cup opener against Georgia, Eddie Jones makes three changes

In preparation for Australia’s opening World Cup game against Georgia at Stade de France on Saturday, Eddie Jones has made three changes to his starting XV.

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Since returning as head coach, Jones has lost all five games, including the final warm-up game 41-17 against France.

For Lalakai Foketi, regular starting centre Samu Kerevi returns from injury.

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Marika Koroibete and Ben Donaldson also make their debuts.

With Carter Gordon struggling so far off the tee in his brief five-cap international career, Donaldson provides an additional goal-kicking option for the Waratahs.

In his 33-man squad, Jones selected Gordon ahead of experienced fly-halves Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley, despite the 22-year-old having only kicked one penalty at Super Rugby or international level.

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Although Donaldson has two caps at fly-half for Australia, he has never played at full-back.

“His goal-kicking has been of a high standard which gives us two kickers in the game, with Nic White off the bench it gives us three,” Jones said.”It is an area we have needed to bolster, hence the selection.”

Koroibete, 31, replaces Suliasi Vunivalu in the Wallabies’ least experienced team since the 2003 World Cup.

Jones’ team averages 19 Test caps apiece, and 17 of the matchday squad will be playing their first World Cup match.

“With the youngest team at the Rugby World Cup, the excitement level in the group is high,” said Jones. “We’ve had a good preparation for the tournament and have been working hard on our game.”


Australia: Donaldson; Nawaqanitawase, Petaia, Kerevi, Koroibete; Gordon, McDermott; Bell, Porecki, Tupou; Arnold, Skelton (capt); Hooper, McReight, Valetini.

Replacements: Faessler, Schoupp, Nonggorr, Leota, Gleeson, White, Foketi, Vunivalu.

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