France vs All Blacks, Wallabies vs Georgia, team news

PARIS – Week one of the World Cup has thrown up some early blockbusters, kicking off with the host nation tackling New Zealand.

This is where you will find all the team news as it is revealed.

Eddie Jones has named his Wallabies side to take on Georgia, making three changes to his starting side and including Ben Donaldson at fullback.

France vs New Zealand, Paris, 5.15am Saturday AEST

All Blacks centre Jordie Barrett has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup opener against France with a knee injury, becoming the fourth Kiwi starter sidelined for the marquee clash.

Barrett joins starters Tyrel Lomax, Brodie Retallick and Shannon Frizell on the sideline. There was bad news for exciting winger Emoni Narawa, who was injured in training during the week and is heading home with a disc issue in his back. He will be replaced in the squad by an as yet unnamed player.

Anton Lienert-Brown has been named at 12 while Nepo Laulala comes in for Lomax and Dalton Papali’i for Frizell. Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock are the locks.

Damian McKenzie misses out on the squad with David Havili and Leicester Fianga’anuku selected at 22 and 23.

“It is a privilege to play in the opening game of Rugby World Cup 2023,” said All Blacks head coach Ian Foster.

“What makes it extra special is playing the host nation who are a very proud and in-form team.”

Foster later spoke of the tough nature of having to send Narawa home.

“It’s incredibly sad. In the Twickenham week, he ran his fastest time of the year, he was coming back, so his preparation has actually been really good, trending right up,” said Foster.

“It’s obviously been a niggling back since the Argentinian Test and he was coming right, he trained really well on Monday and it was actually the last thing he did in the skill block that he jarred it.

“It’s the other side of the disk and it’s incredibly sad for him. He’s worked hard to get here and we were excited about where he was at.

“The best thing for him now is to go and rehab at home. It’s not the nicest thing as a coach right at the start to tell someone they’re going home.”

France confirmed have named their team for Friday’s World Cup opener (Saturday, 5:15am AEST) against New Zealand, with Jonathan Danty’s absence confirmed.

The star centre had been in doubt for the past week, after it was confirmed that he had a minor leg injury following France’s 41-17 win over the Wallabies at the Stade de France.

The hulking centre has been replaced by Yoram Moefana.

The star centre had been in doubt for the past week, after it was confirmed that he had a minor leg injury following France’s 41-17 win over the Wallabies at the Stade de France.

The hulking centre has been replaced by Yoram Moefana.

Elsewhere, Cameron Woki comes into the starting side to partner Francois Cros following Paul Willemse’s groin issue saw him excluded at the last moment from Fabien Galthie’s 33-man World Cup squad.

“We’re getting into this match with the best France team,” Galthie told a news conference ahead of Friday’s match.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 5: Antoine Dupont of France during the 2022 Autumn International test match between France and Australia at Stade de France on November 5, 2022 in Saint-Denis near Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Antoine Dupont will captain France in their tournament opener against the All Blacks. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Les Bleus have missed several of their stars in recent weeks, including Romain Ntamack. Loose-head propCyril Baille will also miss the start of the World Cup.

Nonetheless, France have named a strong side with Antoine Dupont to captain the side and form a strong halves combination alongside Matthieu Jalibert.

World class back-rowers Charles Ollivon and Gregory Alldritt feature alongside Francois Cros.

The All Blacks will name their team on Wednesday afternoon.

France (1-15): Reda Wardi, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Cameron Woki, Thibaud Flament, Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt, Antoine Dupont (c), Matthieu Jalibert, Gabin Villiere, Yoram Moefana, Gael Fickou, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos,

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Dorian Aldegheri, Romain Taofifenua, Paul Boudehent, Maxime Lucu, Arthur Vincent, Melvyn Jaminet.

All Blacks (1-15): Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Dalton Papali’i, Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Mark Telea, Anton Lienert-Brown, Rieko Ioane, Will Jordan, Beauden Barrett.

Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Fletcher Newell, Tupou Vaa’i, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie, David Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku.

Italy vs Namibia, St Etienne, Saturday 9pm AEST

Italy have brought in English-born lock Dino Lamb and prop Danilo Fischetti to their starting XV, the only changes from their final warm-up win over Japan last month.

Coach Kieran Crowley has selected an otherwise settled side that sees Paolo Garbisi at flyhalf, Tommaso Allan in the fullback position and livewire wing Ange Capuozzo as part of an attacking backline selection.

Monty Ioane, who scored a hat-trick in the 42-21 victory over Japan, keeps his place, with loose forward Michele Lamaro to captain the side.

Lamb has replaced Niccolo Cannone, who is not in the match-day 23, while Fischetti comes in for Ivan Nemer. The latter has dropped to the bench.

Five of the team played against Namibia at the 2019 World Cup, where Italy ran out 47-22 in the first game of the tournament for both sides in Japan.

Former Wallaby Richard Hardwick will start for Namibia.

Italy (1-15): Danilo Fischetti., Giacomo Nicotera, Simone Ferrari, Dino Lamb, Federico Ruzza, Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro (c), Lorenzo Cannone, Stephen Varney, Paolo Garbisi, Monty Ioane, Luca Morisi, Juan Ignacio Brex, Ange Capuozzo, Tommaso Allan.

Replacements: Hame Faiva, Ivan Nemer, Marco Riccioni, David Sisi, Manuel Zuliani, Martin Page-Relo, Paolo Odogwu, Pierre Bruno.

Namibia (1-15): Desiderius Sethie, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Aranos Coetzee, Adriaan Ludick, Tjiuee Uanivi, Wian Conradie, Johan Retief, Richard Hardwick, Damian Stevens, Tiaan Swanepoel, JC Greyling, Danco Burger, Johan Deysel (captain), Gerswin Mouton, Divan Rossouw.

Replacements: Louis van der Westhuizen, Jason Benade, Casper Viviers, Tiaan de Klerk, Prince Gaoseb, Jacques Theron, Andre van der Berg, Le Roux Malan.

Ireland vs Romania, Bordeaux, Saturday 11.30pm AEST

Top-ranked Ireland will begin their bid to win the Rugby World Cup for the first time with flyhalf Johnny Sexton back from suspension and flanker Josh van der Flier, the reigning world player of the year, on the bench for their opening pool match against Romania.

Sexton has served a three-match suspension for aggressive behaviour toward match officials at Leinster’s loss to La Rochelle in the European Cup final in May and comes straight back into Andy Farrell’s team as captain for Saturday’s match.

Van der Flier is among the reserves for what should be the easiest of the four Pool B matches for the Irish while Australia-raised Mack Hansen missed out on the matchday squad, with Keith Earls starting instead on the wing.

Ireland are missing three forwards because of injury – hooker Dan Sheehan and back rower Jack Conan (both foot) and prop Dave Kilcoyne (hamstring).

Joe McCarthy is one of six in the team making a World Cup debut and slots into the second row, with Tadhg Beirne starting at No. 6.

New Zealand-born Hinckley Vaovasa will start at flyhalf for Romania for just the second time and will form a halves partnership with Gabriel Rupanu, who starts because Florin Surugiu has not recovered from injury.

Vaovasa has previously started at centre, fullback and on the wing since making his debut for Romania in 2021.

Romania’s last warmup match was a 57-7 loss to Italy and there are three changes from that game, with one coming in the back as flanker Florian Rosu comes in for Damian Stratila.

Ireland (1-15): Andrew Porter, Ron Herring, Tadhg Furlong, Joe McCarthy, James Ryan, Tadgh Beirne, Peter O’Mahony, Caelan Doris, Jamison Gibson-Park, Jonathan Sexton, James Lowe, Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, Keith Earls, Hugo Keenan.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Jeremy Loughman, Tom O’Toole, Iain Henderson, Josh van der Flier, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Robbie Henshaw.

Romania (1-15): Iulian Hartig, Ovidiu Cojocaru, Alexandru Gordas, Adrian Motoc, Stefan Iancu, Florian Rosu, Vlad Neculau, Cristian Chirica (captain), Gabriel Rupanu, Hinckley Vaovasa, Tevita Manumua, Jason Tomane, Fonovai Tangimana, Nicolas Onutu, Marius Simionescu.

Replacements: Florin Bardasu, Alexandru Savin, Gheorghe Gajion, Marius Iftimiciuc, Dragos Ser, Alin Conache, Tudor Boldor, Taylor Gontineac.

Team TBC

Australia vs Georgia, Paris, Sunday 2am AEST

Ben Donaldson will wear the No.15 jersey against Georgia in the Wallabies’ World Cup opener at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday evening (Sunday, 2am AEST), with Eddie Jones making three changes to his starting side from the one that lost to Les Bleus late last month.

His selection confirms The Roar’s exclusive earlier report, with Andrew Kellaway sensationally dumped from the matchday team altogether.

All three changes to Jones’ side that lost 41-17 on August 27 are in the backline, with Samu Kerevi as previously revealed named to return at inside centre.

The final change sees Marika Koroibete return on the wing, with Suliasi Vunivalu dropping back to the bench.

Georgia coach Levan Maisashvili has brought Beka Gorgadze into a rejigged back row.

Gorgadze emerged as his country’s top No.8 at the last World Cup in Japan and returns to the back of the scrum after missing the last warm-up match against Scotland.

Tornike Jalaghonia moves to blindside flanker to make way for Gorgadze, while young gun Luka Ivanishvili shifts over to the openside flank.

Maisashvili has kept his backline intact from the 33-6 loss to Scotland with skipper Merab Sharikadze and Demur Tapladze in the centres and standout Davit Niniashvili at fullback.

Twelve of the matchday squad play their club rugby in France and nine played in the pool fixture against Australia at the 2019 World Cup, which Georgia lost 27-8.

Georgia, the winners of the past five second-tier Rugby Europe Championships, are currently ranked 11th in the world, only two places below twice world champions Australia.

Wallabies (1-15): Angus Bell, Dave Porecki, Taniela Tupou, Richie Arnold, Will Skelton (c), Tom Hooper, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini, Tate McDermott, Carter Gordon, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Jordan Petaia, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ben Donaldson.

Reserves: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Zane Nonggorr, Rob Leota, Langi Gleeson, Nic White, Lalakai Foketi, Suliasi Vunivalu.

Georgia (1-15): Nika Abuladze, Shalva Mamukashvili, Guram Papidze, Luka Matkava, Vaso Lobzhanidze, Beka Gorgadze, Luka Ivanishvili, Tornike Jalaghonia, Kote Mikautadze, Nodar Cheishvili, Giorgi Kveseladze, Kote Mikautadze, Tornike Jalaghonia, Luka Ivanishvili, Beka Gorgadze, Vaso Lobzhanidze, Luka Matkava, Mirian Modebadze, Merab Sharikadze (capt), Demur Tapladze, Akaki Tabutsadze, Davit Niniashvili.

Replacements: Tengizi Zamtaradze, Guram Gogichashvili, Beka Gigashvili, Lasha Jaiani, Giorgi Tsutskiridze, Gela Aprasidze, Tedo Abzhandadze, .

England vs Argentina, Marseilles, Sunday 5am AEST

England flanker Tom Curry has been picked for their World Cup opener against Argentina despite not playing any rugby since suffering a hamstring injury in May, while there was also a surprise start for scrumhalf Alex Mitchell.

Curry, one of the stars of England’s run to the final four years ago, returns at openside flanker in the team named by coach Steve Borthwick on Thursday.

Jonny May, a late addition to the squad after Anthony Watson’s injury, starts on the right wing, with Elliot Daly on the left in Saturday’s (Sunday AEST) match in Marseille.

In the absence of the suspended Billy Vunipola, the only specialist No.8 in the squad, Ben Earls packs down at the back of the scrum.

Mitchell, who was called up to the squad only after injury ruled out Jack van Poortvliet, starts at halfback, with veteran Danny Care on the bench.

Owen Farrell’s suspension opens the way for George Ford at five-eighth with Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant in the centres.

Courtney Lawes will captain the team from blindside flanker while fellow international centurion Dan Cole is a surprise starter at tighthead prop.

Marcus Smith is among the replacements, covering the flyhalf and fullback positions despite never starting a professional game at 15.

Argentina’s Juan Cruz Mallia returns at fullback as the Pumas’ Australian coach Michael Cheika opted for six forwards on the bench.

Mallia is part of a back three with goal-kicker Emiliano Boffelli and Mateo Carreras on the wings and a powerful midfield of Santiago Chocobares and Lucio Cinti. 

Santiago Carreras is at five-eighth and Gonzalo Bertranou gets the nod at halfback.

The team is captained by hooker Julian Montoya, who packs down with props Thomas Gallo and Francisco Gomez Kodela, while the second row is made up of Matias Alemanno and Tomas Lavanini. 

Former captain Pablo Matera is on the flank along with Marcos Kremer, and Juan Martin Gonzalez is at No.8, as Cheika took the unusual step, for him at least, of naming a 6-2 split between forwards and backs on his bench.

England (1-15): Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, Ollie Chessum, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Alex Mitchell, George Ford, Elliot Daly, Manu Tuilagi, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Freddie Steward.

Replacements: Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, George Martin, Lewis Ludlam, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Ollie Lawrence.

Argentina (1-15): Thomas Gallo, Julian Montoya, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremmer, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Gonazalo Bertranou, Santiago Carreras, Matero Carreras, Santiago Chocobares, Lucio Cinti, Emiliano Boffelli, Juan Cruz Mallia.

Replacements: Augustin Creevy, Joel Sclavi, Eduardo Bello, Guido Petti, Pedro Rubiolo, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Matias Moroni.

Japan vs Chile, Toulouse, Sunday, 9pm AEST

South Africa vs Scotland, Marseille, Monday 1.45am AEST

Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk will play his 50th Test as 11 of the starting team that smashed the All Blacks will run out for the opener against Scotland in Marseille.

Boks coach Jacques Nienaber tweaked his selection for the opening salvo in an imposing group.

Scotland are ranked fifth in the world, the Boks number two and pool rivals, Ireland, number one.

There is only one change in the Springbok starting pack. Jasper Wiese takes over at No.8 from Duane Vermeulen, who moves to the bench.

Francois de Klerk of South Africa during the 2022 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match between France and South Africa at Orange Velodrome on November 12, 2022 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Clement Mahoudeau/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

(Photo by Clement Mahoudeau/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

In the backline, Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel are picked in the centres and Cheslin Kolbe returns as a left wing in place of Makazole Mapimpi.

Exciting back Canan Moodie and lock Jean Kleyn, were not considered for selection due to hamstring and knee niggles respectively.

Nienaber, who tried a 7-1 replacement split against the All Blacks, has been a little more cautious, going with 6-2.

“We are pleased with the squad depth we have built in the last few months, and we believe this group of players strikes the right balance to achieve the result we need against Scotland,” said Nienaber.

“We are very excited about this occasion. We’ve been building for this World Cup for the last four years and we are thrilled to get our campaign started.

“We’ve been working hard in the last few weeks to make sure we are as prepared as possible going into this match and we are fully aware of the challenge that awaits us.”

Nienaber said he expected a close match against Scotland.

“Scotland are a quality team with a strong pack and skilful backs, and they play with a lot of intensity, so we need to be sharp on attack and defence on Sunday,” he said.

“They have proved in the last few seasons that they can beat any team, and with this being the opening game of the World Cup for both sides, they will be equally as charged up as us for the match.”

Springboks (1-15): Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth , Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jasper Wiese, Faf de Klerk, Manie Libbok, Cheslin Kolbe, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian Willemse.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Grant Williams, Willie le Roux.

Scotland: TBC

Wales vs Fiji, Bordeaux, Monday 5am AEST

Wales No.8 Taulupe Faletau has been passed fit to play as coach Warren Gatland named an experienced side to face Fiji in their Rugby World Cup Pool C opener in Bordeaux.

Faletau, who did not feature in any warm-up fixtures with a calf problem, forms the back row with captain Jac Morgan and Aaron Wainwright in what shapes as a key fixture in pool C which also features Australia.

Will Rowlands and Adam Beard are the lock pairing while props Gareth Thomas and Tomas Francis make up the front row with hooker Ryan Elias, who has also overcome injury to play.

Dan Biggar leads the backline from five-eighth with Gareth Davies at halfback, Nick Tompkins and George North the centre pairing and Josh Adams and Louis Rees-Zammit on the wing. Liam Williams will be the starting fullback.

North will become the fourth Wales player to appear at four Rugby World Cups, and has featured against Fiji in each of them.

Wales arrived in France with co-captains but only one of them — flanker Morgan — will start, with Dewi Lake omitted because he hasn’t proved his fitness.

Gatland will become the first head coach to take charge of a match at five Rugby World Cups — four with Wales and one with Ireland in 1999.

Fiji have made one change from the starting XV that beat England two weeks ago with Teti Tela replacing injured Caleb Muntz at flyhalf.

Munz was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury after leading his team to a famous first win over England at Twickenham.

Fiji have been boosted by the returns of Josua Tuisova and Levani Botia on the bench.

Wales:  Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Gareth Thomas, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Aaron Wainwright, Jac Morgan (c), Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Corey Domachowski, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Tomos Williams, Sam Costelow, Rio Dyer.

Fiji (1-15): Eroni Mawi, Samuel Matavesi, Luke Tagi, Isoa Nasilasila, Te Ahiwaru Crikidaveta, Albert Tuisue, Lekima Tagitagivalu, Vailame Mata, Frank Lomani, Teti Tela, Vinaya Habosi, Semi Radradra, Waisea Nayacalevu, Selesitini Ravutaumada, Ilaisea Droasese.

Replacements: Tevita Ikanivere, Peni Ravai, Masake Doge, Temo Mayanavanua, Levani Botia, Simione Kuruvoli, Josua Tuisova, Sireli Maqala.

(With agencies) France vs All Blacks, Wallabies vs Georgia, team news

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