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Wallabies revert to Pooper combo

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Wallabies recall Pooper combination and bank on experience

As has been well-telegraphed, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has reinstated the Michael Hooper-David Pocock axis for their opening World Cup fixture against Fiji.

Otherwise, there’s just one change to the side that played in the final Bledisloe Cup match of the year against the All Blacks last month.

Pocock’s return to the side – this is only his second Test of the year – means that Lukhan Salakaia-Loto drops to the reserves and will be hoping to make more of an impact off the bench than he has in his starts to date.

Pocock, who has normally been used at 8 for the Wallabies been paired with Hooper, will instead play on the blindside flank for Saturday’s match.

The other change is the return of Rory Arnold, who missed the last Bledisloe match due to injury. He has been elevated ahead of Adam Coleman, who will also take up a bench spot.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “Our goal is to win. I’m sure every team comes to every World Cup believing they can win, and that’s what makes it such a great tournament.

“We want to do two things; to do our best to win the tournament but also to show young people in Australia who are watching, how beautiful the game of rugby can be and inspire them to play rugby back home in the future,” Cheika said.

Wallabies: Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Christian Leali’afano, Nic White, Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Allan Alaalatoa, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio. Res: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Will Genia, Matt To’omua, Dane Haylett-Petty.

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Wallabies recall Pooper combination and bank on experience