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Australia's lock and captain Will Skelton (centre) runs with the ball as Georgia's prop Beka Gigashvili (right) goes to block him during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool C match. Image Credit: AFP

Saint-Etienne, France: Captain Will Skelton has sustained a calf injury ahead of Australia’s second World Cup match against Fiji but remains available for the Pool C clash, the Wallabies said on Friday after announcing their team.

The lock will have scans later on Friday on the injury, which was sustained in training on Thursday, a team spokesperson said.

“At the moment he’s still in the team,” coach Eddie Jones told reporters at the team hotel.

Hamstring strain

Evergreen Wallabies prop James Slipper has recovered from a foot injury and will start the match at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, becoming the third Australian to play at four World Cups.

The versatile 34-year-old, who matches the feat of George Gregan and Adam Ashley-Cooper, will play his 132nd Test at tighthead in place of Taniela Tupou, who was ruled out by a minor hamstring strain.

Having beaten Georgia 35-5 in their opener last weekend to snap a five-match losing streak, Australia could all but secure a place in the quarterfinals with a victory.

“Fiji is the most important match of our Rugby World Cup campaign,” Jones said.

Big opportunity

“It’s another big opportunity for our young side to keep getting better and we’ll be ready on Sunday.”

Jones was also forced to change his starting scrumhalf with vice-captain Tate McDermott subject to concussion protocols after sustaining a head knock against Georgia.

The experienced Nic White will instead partner flyhalf Carter Gordon at halfback with rookie Issak Fines-Leleiwasa set to win his second test cap from the bench.

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Australian players celebrate their win against Georgia. Image Credit: AFP

Fines-Leleiwasa is one of six players with Fijian heritage in the matchday 23 along with No 8 Rob Valetini and backs Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Mark Nawaqanitawase and Suliasi Vunivalu.

Lock Nick Frost returns to the starting line-up in the second row after missing the last two tests because of a cut to his ear.

Starting from the bench

Hooker Jordan Uelese has also recovered from injury and will back up starting rake David Porecki from the bench.

Ben Donaldson, man of the match against Georgia after being brought into the side primarily for his place-kicking, retains the fullback spot ahead of Andrew Kellaway.


15-Ben Donaldson, 14-Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13-Jordan Petaia, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Carter Gordon, 9-Nic White, 8-Rob Valetini, 7-Fraser McReight, 6-Tom Hooper, 5-Will Skelton, 4-Nick Frost, 3-James Slipper, 2-David Porecki, 1-Angus Bell Replacements: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-Blake Schoupp, 18-Zane Nonggorr, 19-Richie Arnold, 20-Rob Leota, 21-Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22-Lalakai Foketi, 23-Suliasi Vunivalu.