David Pocock
Pocock returns to the Australia team in their World Cup opener. Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup resumes with Australia beginning their campaign against a Fiji team looking to bounce back from defeat to England.

Where to watch

Australia vs Fiji kicks off at 4.45pm BST on Wednesday 24 September. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio 5 Live.


Having seen their fellow World Cup contenders splutter their way through their opening games, it is the turn of Australia to take their bow in the showcase tournament and lay down a marker at the end of the first round of pool matches.

There is a tinge of pressure on Michael Cheika's side too, with England and Wales both having begun their campaigns with bonus point victories against Fiji and Uruguay respectively. Australia need to pile on the points to keep pace with their rivals in a pool where there is no margin for error.

Cheika has chosen a full-strength team for the clash with Fiji, with the back three of Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rob Horne ready to be unleashed. All eyes will be on Michael Hooper and David Pocock in the back row ahead of the games against England and Wales in the coming weeks.

Nikola Matavalu
Matavalu showed England a clean pair of heels in the opening game Getty Images

Though Fiji are no stranger to quick turnarounds having won the recent Pacific Nations Cup, with John McKee's side given four days to recover from the demands of the opening night defeat to England, the changes have been rung. In all four alterations have been made, following the suspension to Dominiko Waqaniburotu, with Sunia Koto, Api Ratuniyarawa and Sakiusa Matadigo all making way.

Australia may be looking to open their account with a comfortable win but the Fijians will hope to prey on more opening days nerves, which saw them stay with England until two tries in the last 10 minutes.

Nemani Nadolo will inevitably be the centre of attention, but scrum-half Nikola Matawalu showed in his break which should have led to the opening try that he is not to be underestimated. Elsewhere, the front row of Campese Ma'afu and Manasa Saulo provided England with plenty of problems and it could be that Australia yield control at the scrum before taking advantage of any jadedness in the twilight of the contest.


Australia: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Matt Giteau, 11. Rob Horne, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Will Genia; 1. Scott Sio, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Kane Douglas, 5. Rob Simmons, 6. Scott Fardy, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. David Pocock

Replacements: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. James Slipper, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Will Skelton, 20. Dean Mumm, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Kurtley Beale

Fiji: 15. Metuisela Talebula, 14. Waisea Nayacalevu, 13. Vereniki Goneva, 12. Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11. Nemani Nadolo, 10. Ben Volavola, 9. Nikola Matawalu; 1. Campese Ma'afu, 2. Tuapati Talemaitoga, 3. Manasa Saulo, 4. Tevita Cavubati, 5. Leone Nakarawa, 6. Peceli Yato, 7. Akapusi Qera (c), 8. Netani Talei

Replacements: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Isei Colati, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Malakai Ravulo, 21 Nemia Kenatale, 22 Josh Matavesi, 23 Aseli Tikoirotuma

What the coaches say

Michael Cheika: "This is a great opportunity for us as representatives of rugby in Australia to promote our sport from within, as we are in a very competitive market down there. It's a great opportunity to show our colours across all the codes and, as it's a World Cup, there's no doubt that they'll all be supporting Australia. We're very competitive as Aussies and they want to do well no matter what.

"I'm relatively comfortable with the progression we've made since coming in last November - which is not even a year - when compared to all the other coaches who've been in situ for four years.

"We are relatively young, experience-wise, but we've tried to make a strong plan from that day to now. We've worked hard and honestly, and we are in a position for the tournament to start and get stuck in. We're only just starting and what we've done is get some groundwork together in order to be competitive in our pool and later in the tournament."

Michael Cheika
Cheika has selected a strong the for the Wallabies' World Cup bow. Getty Images

John McKee: "We play with short turnarounds in the Pacific Nations Cup, so in terms of our systems, recovery and analysis, we have practised that. We have made some changes to our forward pack which were pre-planned, to make sure we get a number of fresh players into the line-up but keeping the continuity with the core of our team.

"We have been well aware of the challenge ahead of us since the draw came out and we qualified. Twickenham was a massive challenge for us take on [for the England match] with it being their home ground and doubling up as the opening game and ceremony.

"But our first game is behind us now and although we have another massive game coming up, we won't have those first game jitters. The boys are well aware of the pressures around the game, but I don't think those pressures will match the pressure of playing England at Twickenham in the opening game."

Other fixtures:

2.30pm: Scotland vs Japan

8pm: France vs Romania