Cheika continues Wallabies' combination shake-up ahead of Georgia clash

Matt To'omua has been handed the Wallabies five-eighth jersey for their Rugby World Cup pool game against Georgia as Michael Cheika desperately explores another option for his most problematic position.

Rather than field his strongest XV a week out from the quarter-finals, Cheika is still probing for answers in some positions as his team seek an elusive 80-minute performance in Shizuoka on Friday.

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To'omua has started just four of his 50 Tests at five-eighth but he could prove to be the solution at this tournament, with experienced pair Christian Lealiifano and Bernard Foley having both struggled to stamp their mark.

Lealiifano was improved in last Saturday's 45-10 win over Uruguay but Cheika has handed 29-year-old To'omua his chance in Shizuoka to direct traffic in what is a much-changed Wallabies team.

Matt To'omua and Nic White will start against Georgia. (Getty Images)

Key figures have been demoted, including skipper Michael Hooper, who should come off the bench for his 99th Test cap.

Hooper had started all three pool games - the wins over Fiji and Uruguay and the loss to Wales - along with outside back Dane Haylett-Petty (benched) and prop Allan Alaalatoa (rested completely).

David Pocock will lead the team, as he did against Samoa last month.

Four backs are retained from the team who beat Uruguay in Oita, although To'omua is shifted from inside centre while rookie Jordan Petaia moves from the left to the right wing.

Another strong Petaia showing in just his second Test could hoist the 19-year-old past more accomplished outside backs for a quarter-final start.

Halfback Nic White and fullback Kurtley Beale keep their spots from last week while flanker Jack Dempsey is the only forward starting for a second straight game, having shone against Uruguay.

The Samu Kerevi-James O'Connor midfield axis is restored while most of Cheika's first-choice pack are named and should be a handful for the Georgians, who are out of quarter-finals contention.


Kurtley Beale, Jordan Petaia, James O'Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Matt To'omua, Nic White, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock (capt), Jack Dempsey, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio. Res: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Michael Hooper, Will Genia, Christian Lealiifano, Dane Haylett-Petty.