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Wallabies make major changes for Wales Rugby World Cup match

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27th September, 2019
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Michael Cheika has named his Wallabies team for their important Pool D clash against reigning Six Nations champions Wales, making some massive changes in the backline.

Veteran flyhalf Bernard Foley comes into the side for the crucial match, replacing Christan Lealiifano in the no.10 jersey. He’s joined in an all-new halves pairing by Will Genia, who has taken Nic White’s starting position at scrumhalf after impressing from the bench in Australia’s World Cup opener.

That 9-10 partnership of Foley and Genia is the same combination the Wallabies used against Wales in their last World Cup clash back in 2015, when Foley scored all of Australia’s points in a 15-9 win.

White will start from the bench, while Lealiifano has been omitted from the side entirely. Both halves struggled in last week’s win over Fiji, their benchings coinciding with Australia’s second-half dominance – although they were given little assistance early on from their forward pack.

There’s also a number of significant changes to the back three, and not just because of Reece Hodge’s suspension.

Dane Haylett-Petty, who had been touted to be a straight swap for Hodge on the right wing, has replaced Kurtley Beale at fullback, with Adam Ashley-Cooper coming into the side out wide to appear in his fourth straight World Cup. Marika Koroibete has kept his place on the left wing.

With Wales expected to pepper the Wallabies with the high ball, Haylett-Petty has evidently been preferred to Beale thanks to his better aerial skills, although many would argue Beale is better suited to coming off the bench regardless.

The rest of the team is otherwise unchanged, Cheika opting to stick with the same forwards and reserves from the 39-21 win over Fiji.

There’s still no sign of Taniela Tupou on the bench, with James Slipper and Sekope Kepu backing up starting props Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa, while the back row of Isi Naisarani, David Pocock and captain Michael Hooper will have the chance to build on their first match together last weekend.

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In the backs,

Wallabies team to face Wales

1. Scott Sio
2. Tolu Latu
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Izack Rodda
5. Rory Arnold
6. David Pocock
7. Michael Hooper (c)
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Will Genia
10. Bernard Foley
11. Marika Koroibete
12. Samu Kerevi
13. James O’Connor
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Reserves
16. Jordan Uelese
17. James Slipper
18. Sekope Kepu
19. Adam Coleman
20. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
21. Nic White
22. Matt To’omua
23. Kurtley Beale