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Australia v Georgia: Eddie Jones says his team are 'like an F1 car' ahead of the Rugby World Cup

Samu Kerevi
Samu Kerevi last played for Australia in their 23-20 loss to New Zealand in August

2023 Rugby World Cup: Pool C - Australia v Georgia

Venue: Stade de France Dates: Saturday, 9 September Kick-off: 17:00

Coverage: Full commentary of every game across BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Australia are "like an F1 car" ahead of their World Cup opener against Georgia on Saturday at Stade de France, says head coach Eddie Jones.

"We're like an F1 car now, a fast one at the start of the grid," Jones said.

Jones has lost all five games since returning as head coach, including a 41-17 defeat by France in their final warm-up game.

He has made three changes to his starting XV for Australia's opening game against Georgia.

"We went through a period where we had to almost de-structure the team to get ourselves in the position where we think we can win the World Cup," Jones added.

"This is the first step against Georgia, a very important game."

Regular starting centre Samu Kerevi, an injury doubt for the game, returns to the side for Lalakai Foketi, with Ben Donaldson and wing Marika Koroibete also coming into the back three.

"Kerevi coming back gives us another option which we haven't had much since we've been together - he's only played one game - so he gives us another big running threat out wide," Jones said.

The Wallabies' pack remains unchanged from the defeat by France, as 22-stone lock Will Skelton continues as captain in a group of forwards Jones believes could "dominate" the World Cup.

Jones added: "I would never have dreamt saying as the coach of Australia that we have got a huge pack that could dominate the World Cup, but we have. We intend to use that to our advantage."

Donaldson, 24, kicks for the Waratahs and offers an extra goal-kicking option with Carter Gordon struggling so far off the tee in his short five-cap international career.

Jones favoured Gordon in his 33-man squad ahead of experienced fly-halves Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley, with former Wallabies captain Michael Hooper also missing out on selection.

Australia faced Georgia at the 2019 World Cup with the Wallabies coming out on top 27-8. But Georgia scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze feels the loss of their experienced personnel may hinder the Wallabies.

"Australia are not at their best because they don't have Quade Cooper and Hooper. To be honest, I believe there's a big opportunity for us to win," Lobzhanidze said.

Georgia have won two out of their last three games heading into the World Cup, with their last win over a tier one nation coming last November against Wales in Cardiff.

Wales, Fiji and Portugal are the other two nations in Pool C, with the two top-ranked sides in the pool progressing to the quarter-final.


Australia: Donaldson; Nawaqanitawase, Petaia, Kerevi, Koroibete; Gordon, McDermott; Bell, Porecki, Tupou; Arnold, Skelton (capt); Hooper, McReight, Valetini.

Replacements: Faessler, Schoupp, Nonggorr, Leota, Gleeson, White, Foketi, Vunivalu.

Georgia: Niniashvili; Tabutsadze, Tapladze, Sharikadze (capt), Modebadze; Matkava, Lobzhanidze; Abuladze, Mamukashvili, Papidze; Cheishvili, Mikautadze; Jalagonia, Ivanishvili, Gorgadze.

Replacements: Gogichashvili, Gigashvili, Jaiani, Tsutskiridze, Aprasidze, Abzhandadze, Kveseladze.