Will Genia set to return for Australia against Fiji

Will Genia set to return for Australia against Fiji

Scrum-half Will Genia will make his first Test start for two months when Australia open their World Cup campaign against Fiji in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Genia lines up in a team that contains seven World Cup debutants, with the likes of Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, Bernard Foley and Israel Folau all starting.

And coach Michael Cheika has also named both of his star openside flankers Michael Hooper and David Pocock in the back-row, with Hooper wearing the number seven shirt and Pocock packing down at number eight.

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

“We know Fiji are a good quality rugby team and in good form. They’ve shown 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.”

With Australia facing second Pool A opponents Uruguay four days after the Fiji game, Cheika aims to give all his players game-time across the two fixtures.

“It’s important to give everyone an opportunity early on,” Cheika added.

“We’ve done that throughout our lead-up to this tournament, and I believe it’s a good way to go.”

Australia team (versus Fiji): I Folau; A Ashley-Cooper, T Kuridrani, M Giteau, R Horne; B Foley, W Genia; S Sio, S Moore (capt), S Kepu, K Douglas, R Simmons, S Fardy, M Hooper, D Pocock.

Replacements: T Polota-Nau, J Slipper, G Holmes, W Skelton, D Mumm, N Phipps, M Toomua, K Beale.

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