David Pocock to captain Australia against Georgia

Matt Toomua takes the fly-half position
Matt Toomua takes the fly-half position

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has named David Pocock as the captain for their upcoming World Cup game against Georgia to be played in Fukuroi on Friday.

Pocock returns at openside flanker with regular skipper Michael Hooper dropping to the bench for the first time since 2015. He will be part of the back-row that also has Isi Naisarani at number eight with Jack Dempsey retaining his place at blindside flanker.

Cheika has made 11 changes to the starting line-up from their 45-10 game against Uruguay with Izack Rodda and Rory Arnold in second-row and Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu and Scott Sio being part of the front row.

The Wallabies boss has also reward Matt Toomua with the number 10 slot while Nic White is retained at scrum-half.

“He’s filled in there and done quite well there,” Cheika said about Toomua.

“He’s a different player to Lealiifano and Foley. He’s got a different style and a different type of defender and he’s done well in the opportunities he’s been given.

“Admittedly they’ve been second halves, where we’ve had more of a direct line and we want to try and start like that.

“We’re giving him an opportunity to show his wares and with Christian on the bench, they’ll be working in tandem just in a different order.”

Jordan Petaia's impressive start to his Australian career sees him retained in the XV but moves from left to right wing with Marika Koroibete taking the number 11 spot. James O'Connor also gets another start with Samu Kervei as the centres while Kurtley Beale retains his place at fullback.

Cheika said the changes have been made to keep the players in the groove as the business end of the tournament approaches.

“Different teams do it differently,” he said.

“Some want to go with the same players all the time and rest out.

“We feel like keeping players competing for spots is working for us, I think we’re playing some good footy.

“This is another chance for other guys to do the same.”

A win against Georgia will ensure Australia qualify for the top eight as they have 11 points from three games with two wins.

Australia starting line-up: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 James O’Connor, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio

Reserves: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Will Genia, 22 Christian Lealiifano, 23 Dane Haylett-Petty


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