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Genia, Foley return to Australia team for Wales blockbuster

Genia, Foley return to Australia team for Wales blockbuster
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - 2018 Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship - Australia v New Zealand - Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand - August 25, 2018 - Australia's Bernard Foley is tackled. REUTERS/Ross Setford -
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By Nick Mulvenney

TOKYO (Reuters) – Australia coach Michael Cheika has changed his halfback pairing for Sunday’s blockbuster Pool D clash of the Rugby World Cup against Wales, bringing Will Genia and Bernard Foley back into the side in place of Nic White and Christian Leali’ifano.

Scrumhalf White and flyhalf Leali’ifano came into the tournament as the incumbents after firing Australia to a thumping victory over New Zealand in Perth and both started the opening victory against Fiji last weekend.

Genia made a big difference when he came off the bench in Sapporo, while Leali’ifano took a battering from the Fijians as Australia came from behind to win.

In other backline changes, Kurtley Beale has been dropped to the bench with Dane Haylett-Petty coming in at fullback to face what is expected to be an aerial bombardment from the Six Nations champions at Tokyo Stadium.

Adam Ashley-Cooper replaced the banned Reece Hodge on the right wing and will win his 120th cap for his country in a match that is likely to decide which of the two countries tops the pool.

Cheika told reporters that it was up to Hodge to decided whether he wanted to appeal a three-match ban for a dangerous tackle in the Fiji match. He had 48 hours from receiving the ban on Wednesday to lodge an appeal.

Team: 15-Dane Haylett-Petty, 14-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13-James O’Connor, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Will Genia, 8-Isi Naisarani, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6-David Pocock, 5-Rory Arnold, 4-Izack Rodda, 3-Allan Alaalatoa, 2-Tolu Latu, 1-Scott Sio.

Replacements: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-James Slipper, 18-Sekope Kepu, 19-Adam Coleman, 20-Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21-Nic White, 22-Matt Toomua, 23-Kurtley Beale

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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