Cheika swings axe for Wales clash at Rugby World Cup

Tokyo (AFP) –


Australia coach Michael Cheika brought in half-backs Will Genia and Bernard Foley and dropped Kurtley Beale to the bench as he made four changes on Friday for the Rugby World Cup clash with Wales.

Dane Haylett-Petty starts in place of Beale at fullback and there was no room in the matchday 23 for Christian Lealiifano, Australia's starting fly-half in the 39-21 win over Fiji.

Adam Ashley-Cooper comes in on the right wing to replace Reece Hodge, who was banned for three games for a high tackle, for what will be the 35-year-old's 120th Test.

James O'Connor, recently reintroduced to the side after a long absence with disciplinary problems, will earn his 50th cap when he lines up in midfield alongside Samu Kerevi.

The Wallabies pack is unchanged with David Pocock again forming the 'Pooper' back-row partnership with captain Michael Hooper for Sunday's Pool D game in Tokyo.

Australia were troubled by a physical Fiji in their opening game last weekend but they got a grip on the game when Genia was introduced in the second half.

The Wallabies have a strong record against Wales although they were on the losing last time they met, when a 6-9 reverse last November ended a decade-long winning streak.

Australia (15-1)

Dane Haylett-Petty; Adam Ashley-Cooper, James O'Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper (capt), David Pocock; Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda; Allan Alaalatoa, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Nic White, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale