With Australia’s first match in the Rugby World Cup just four weeks away, we take a look at star players who will be key to their Webb Ellis trophy prospects in Japan.
DAVID POCOCK (31)
The Waratahs icon is only just back from a calf injury, but looks primed to take the No8 shirt in Japan.
The 31-year-old has been instrumental for his country over the years with his strong tackling, solid carrying and smoking footwork all serious threats.
A high-class operator at the breakdown, Pocock will be looking to shine in what is likely to be his World Cup swansong.
MICHAEL HOOPER (27)
One of the best players in the Southern Hemisphere, Hooper could step into any team with little fuss.
It’s hard to believe he’s still only 27 – and his ability to win his own ball and produce magic with every touch has seen him evolve into one of the game’s most-influential figures.
If the Aussies go well, expect the Waratahs man to light up their campaign.
The Wallabies scrum was a massive strength at times during the Rugby Championship and will be key against the likes of Wales and Georgia in the World Cup.
Scott Sio and Alan Alaalatoa were major parts of the Wallabies’ granite-like defence in Perth two weeks ago, with the latter in particular, shining with his strong carries.
That’s not to forget Taniela Tupou, Sekope Kepu and hookers Tolu Latu, Folau Fainga’a, Tatafu Polota-Nau, all of whom will be battling to play starring roles if the Wallabies are to push on and reach the last eight.
SAMU KEREVI (25)
Fijian-born Kerevi is part of a dominant Wallabies back-line that can attack from any position.
The 25-year-old can orchestrate the game from first centre and, with Reece Hodge and James O’Connor likely to be outside him, can upset the tempo of any opposition if presented with quality balls.
Solid in the tackle and always a threat going forward, the Queensland Reds man will be a major force for Cheika’s side.
MARIKA KOROIBETE (27)
One of the stand-out stars in the win over the All Blacks, Koroibete has been a colossus for the Wallabies.
With eight tries in 23 appearances, the Melbourne Rebels winger is a totemic presence who has a knack for catching opposition attackers behind the gain line and, coupled with his strong offloading ability, is a superb asset to any starting line-up.
The former NRL star also has the edge in the physical and defensive battle against his rivals.
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