Seven World Cup debutants named in Wallabies team to face Fiji in opener

by staff

Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika has named his team for its opening match of Rugby World Cup 2015 against Fiji at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Wednesday (1.45am Thursday AEST).

The Wallabies head into the match with seven Rugby World Cup debutants in the starting XV including Scott Sio, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani and Israel Folau.

Captain Stephen Moore is set to become the first hooker to skipper the Wallabies at a Rugby World Cup in his 97th Test in the gold jersey, leading an experienced starting lineup which boasts a combined 720 Test caps.

In his first Rugby World Cup as Head Coach, Cheika is looking forward to the Wallabies entering the tournament and the challenge that lies ahead.

“We’ve been working hard over the past few months and it’s great be able to finally pick a team and get started.

“We know Fiji are a good quality Rugby team and in good form. They’ve showed that recently during the Pacific Cup and their opening match against England at this World Cup.

“The players have an enormous amount of respect for them and the way they're playing the game, especially the improvements in their set piece.

“Our groundwork is done now and we are eager to get into the battle – a battle we know will be very intense against this Fiji side.

Scrumhalf Will Genia returns to the run-on side for the first time since the Wallabies’ 24-20 win over South Africa in their Rugby Championship opener in July.

Cheika is looking at giving all players game time in the opening rounds of the tournament, with the Wallabies set to play Uruguay on a short four-day turnaround at Villa Park, Birmingham on Sunday night (AEST).

“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 (Phipps) 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.”

The Wallabies opening match will be screened LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS 502 and GEM from 1:30am AEST on Thursday.

Rugby World Cup 2015 Match 10: Wallabies team to play Fiji at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Wednesday, September 23, 4:45pm local time (1:45am AEST, Thursday, September 24)

1. Scott Sio (10 Tests)

2. Stephen Moore - c (96 Tests)

3. Sekope Kepu (56 Tests)

4. Kane Douglas (16 Tests)

5. Rob Simmons (53 Tests)

6. Scott Fardy (24 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper - vc (46 Tests)

8. David Pocock (50 Tests)

9. Will Genia (60 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (21 Tests)

11. Rob Horne (27 Tests)

12. Matt Giteau (96 Tests)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (24 Tests)

14. Adam Ashley-Cooper - vc (108 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (33 Tests)


16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (54 Tests)

17. James Slipper (68 Tests)

18. Greg Holmes (18 Tests)

19. Will Skelton (12 Tests)

20. Dean Mumm (37 Tests)

21. Nick Phipps (32 Tests)

22. Matt Toomua (25 Tests)

23. Kurtley Beale (53 Tests)