No complacency as Wallabies name strong XV

Australia's wing Joe Tomane training before facing Fiji. The Wallabies insist the tough Pool A will keep them on their toes.
Australia's wing Joe Tomane training before facing Fiji. The Wallabies insist the tough Pool A will keep them on their toes.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CARDIFF • Australia kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign against Fiji today with coach Michael Cheika admitting there is "no comfortable feeling" in their so-called "Pool of death".

Pool A also includes hosts England, who beat Fiji 35-11 in the tournament opener on Friday, and Wales, who powered to a convincing 54-9 win over Uruguay on Sunday.

"The teams in our pool will be having a totally different lead-in," said Cheika. "There is no feeling comfortable in our group. Perhaps that's how it should be. It's the World Cup and it will be tough for every game and we will have to earn everything we get."

Cheika named Toulon playmaker Matt Giteau at inside-centre and, for only the second time, stand-out openside flankers Michael Hooper and David Pocock in the back row.

The strong team named is an indication that the former No. 8 is taking nothing for granted, especially after Japan's shock victory over South Africa on Saturday.

NOT TAKING IT EASY

There is no feeling comfortable in our group... It's the World Cup and it will be tough for every game and we will have to earn everything we get.

MICHAEL CHEIKA, Australia rugby coach

"You've always got to have that readiness in rugby because it's a contact sport. It's a game where the humble usually succeed," he said.

Fiji coach John McKee made four changes to his "jitter-free" team.

All the changes come in the forwards with hooker Sunia Koto, lock Apisalome Ratuniyawara and No. 8 Sakiusa Matadigo replaced by Tuapati Talemaitoga, Tevita Cavubati and Netani Talei respectively.

Blindside flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu's place is taken by Clermont's Peceli Yato, after the former was found guilty of a tip tackle against England and suspended for one week.

"We are pretty excited for the game on Wednesday and excited to try and step up from how we did against England," said Cavubati.

"Australia like to run the ball and we are expecting them to do that. We expect it to be a faster game than the England game, although if the ball comes our way, I'm sure they will be trying to slow things down."

Fiji kept England on the back foot for long periods, but paid the price for a series of missed kicks at goal.

"We felt really good in the game and we felt we were in control for some parts of the game," Cavubati said. "However, the fact we didn't win it is down to us. We are to blame for that. But now it's important we pick up a win."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

RUGBY WORLD CUP
Australia v Fiji
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2015, with the headline 'No complacency as Wallabies name strong XV'. Print Edition | Subscribe