2 Oct 2015

Wallabies stick with top XV vs England

11:35 am on 2 October 2015

For the first time in his 11-Test reign, the wily Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has retained his first-choice starting XV for Sunday morning's crunch Rugby World Cup pool match against England at Twickenham.

Bernard Foley

Bernard Foley Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In the most notable selection, Cheika has gone for the steadying hand and more reliable boot of Bernard Foley over the mercurial Quade Cooper as his backline pivot in the Twickenham pressure cooker.

And he's shown faith in Will Genia despite pressure from back-up halfback Nick Phipps.

The match has assumed even greater significance following Australia's failure to secure a bonus point in their victory over Fiji, and England's loss last weekend to Wales.

Defeat for England would almost certainly end their tournament in the group stages on home soil, while Australia would also be in danger of missing the quarter-finals if they lose.

Australia: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Kane Douglas, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (capt), Scott Sio. Res (three to be omitted): Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Toby Smith, Sam Carter, Dean Mumm, Sean McMahon, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale, Drew Mitchell

Meanwhile England have recalled fit-again centre Jonathan Joseph.

Joseph missed the dramatic 28-25 defeat by Wales at Twickenham with a chest injury, with rugby league convert Sam Burgess started instead.

But Burgess now finds himself on the bench for a match England must win if they are to avoid becoming the first World Cup hosts to exit the tournament before the knockout stage.

Joseph returns at centre, with Brad Barritt moving back across to his more familiar second-five position.

Owen Farrell, who landed all of his goal-kicks against Wales, retained his place at first-five, with George Ford again on the bench.

Burgess is now likely to be used as a second-half impact replacement - the role he filled in England's opening 'Pool of Death' win over Fiji.

In the pack, No.8 Ben Morgan and lock Joe Launchbury have replaced Billy Vunipola and Courtney Lawes respectively because of knee injuries.

Nick Easter, called up into the squad this week after Vunipola was ruled out of the rest of the tournament, is on the bench.

This is a third World Cup for Easter, a member of the England side that lost the 2007 final to South Africa in Paris.

George Kruis is set for his first World Cup matchday experience after being included as a second row replacement.

England: Mike Brown; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Brad Barritt, Jonny May; Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (capt), Tom Wood; Geoff Parling, Joe Launchbury; Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Joe Marler. Replacements: Rob Webber, Mako Vunipola, Kieran Brookes, George Kruis, Nick Easter, Richard Wigglesworth, George Ford, Sam Burgess


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