Australia v Namibia
Australia handed their second-stringers a chance to impress against minnows Namibia in today’s World Cup Pool A match at the Adelaide Oval.
Only four of the Wallabies team which thrashed Romania 90-8 have been named to start, with several players handed the chance to stake their claims to a place in Eddie Jones’ first XV for the latter stages of the competition.
Full-back Chris Latham and centre Stirling Mortlock are pushing to regain Test places lost to illness and injury respectively, while lock David Giffin is sure to get a rousing reception from the crowd should he come off the bench after recovering from his nightmare fall in the opening match of the tournament against Argentina.
Prop Matt Dunning makes his Test debut, while flanker David Croft and centre Matt Giteau appear in a starting line-up for the first time.
Chris Whittaker will lead the side for the first time, taking over the captaincy and scrum-half duties from the injured George Gregan. Winger Mat Rogers will be kicking for the Wallabies in the absence of Elton Flatley.
Namibia coach Dave Waterston has, meanwhile, named a relatively inexperienced backline, which has just 58 caps’ worth of collective experience compared with the Australians, for whom Latham and Mortlock have 59 between them.
Namibia have a new skipper in Hakkies Husselman, the highly-rated Mpumalanga scrum-half, while their most influential forward is Cardiff lock Heino Senekal, who has 14 caps.
Australia’s fans, though, will be looking for their team to match the record winning margin of 82 points, first recorded in 2001 against Spain and then equalled again last week against Romania.
The Wallabies best try haul is 13, achieved in both those games and also in a rout of South Korea in 1987.
The biggest ever win by a team at the World Cup is New Zealand’s 145-17 win over Japan in 1995, a game in which Marc Ellis scored a tournament record of six tries.
World Cup Pool A Australia v Namibia
Latham, Tuqiri, Mortlock, Grey, Rogers, Giteau, Whitaker, Dunning, Paul, Darwin, Harrison, Sharpe, Smith, Croft, Lyons. Replacements: Cannon, Young, Giffin, Roe, Cockbain, Turinui, Burke.
Pedro, Mouton, Grobler, Wessels, Booysen, Schrender, Husselman, Lensing, Van Tonder, du Toit, Senekal, E. Isaacs, Van Rooi, Lintvelt, Van Lill. Replacements: P. Isaacs, Blaauw, van der Merwe, Furter, Swanepoel, Grunschloss, Afrika.
Referee: Joel Jutge (France)