Jones makes four changes as Wallabies fight for Cup survival

LYON, France -- Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has made three changes and one further positional shift to his run-on team to face Wales, with Tate McDermott and Ben Donaldson set to form a new halves pairing for the Rugby World Cup clash in Lyon.

The Wallabies will be fighting for their tournament survival in the Sunday night [Monday morning AEST] match, which also sees Andrew Kellaway make his World Cup debut and back-rower Rob Leota start ahead of Fraser McReight, with Tom Hooper shifting from the No. 6 to the No. 7 jersey to accommodate Leota's inclusion.

While McDermott was named vice-captain ahead of the World Cup, Jones has decided to stick with Dave Porecki as skipper after he led the side in the seven-point loss to Fiji in Will Skelton's absence.

"Oh, I think we've got a leadership group," Jones said of the decision to stick with Porecki. "They're working really closely together. And I know the captaincy is a key role. But we just feel the consistency from Dave from last week to this week, allow Tate to come back in and play his game will be important."

Needing a win to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the quarterfinals of the tournament, something they have never failed to do at the game's showpiece, Jones has switched Donaldson into the frontline after Carter Gordon's inglorious effort against the Fijians. Gordon has dropped back to the bench where Pone Fa'amausili is a welcomed inclusion, while Matt Faessler replaces Jordan Uelese [concussion] as the back-up hooker.

"We just feel we needed to probably freshen the team up," Jones said after naming his team on Friday morning [CET]. "Carter's had an opportunity, struggled a bit against Fiji and [I] thought that he's best to finish the game for us."

Asked what Donaldson could bring to the team, Jones added: "Just a freshness to the position. He attacks the line well, Ben. When he came on in the second half, he really attacked the line well.

"And against Wales, if we're able to get some quick ruck ball, we've got Wayne Barnes who generally referees the game with quick ruck ball, we need a 10 who can attack the line."

The only change to the pack sees Leota replace McReight, and Hooper shift into the No. 7 jersey just as he did for Bledisloe I in Melbourne.

The Test rookie impressed in that performance, making an incredible 30 tackles, while Leota should offer the Wallabies a better ball-carrying option than McReight, after Australia were outmuscled by a physical Fijian team in Saint-Etienne last week.

"No, we've just gone for a bit of a heavier back-row this week," Jones said when asked if the back-row changes were brought about by the breakdown failings against Fiji.

"Again, we think there's going to be a fair bit of quick ball this week, which will suit Tom Hooper at seven. And Leota gives us much more carry. Without [Taniela] Tupou and Skelton, we just lacked a bit of carry in the forwards and we wanted to get a bit more carry there."

Jones meanwhile said he had made a decision on who would replace 19-year-old flyer Max Jorgensen, after he became the third Australian player in eight days to go down injured while training in France.

Waratahs winger and former sevens star Dylan Pietsch had previously been the front-runner, while Wallabies great Tim Horan had suggested that Rugby Australia approach the Sydney Roosters about an early exit for Joseph Suaali'i, who is not due to switch codes until October next year.

"Yeah, I have [made a decision]. But we don't need to announce it yet," Jones said. As for Horan's comments, the 63-year-old coach added: "You better ask Tim that."

Jones said he wasn't concerned by the potential pursuit of bonus points, which may become critical if the Wallabies do keep alive their hopes of maintaining the team's perfect quarterfinal streak at the World Cup with a win this weekend.

The Wallabies boss also said he was "100% confident" Australia would beat Wales, after recognising a strong response to last week's shock defeat -- a first loss to Fiji for Australia in 69 years -- this week at training.

"Because we've had a really good preparation and the way the players rebounded after the Fiji game," Jones said. "You've got a choice whether you want to get stuck in and go again and keep working hard and improving - that's what I've seen from the players."


Andrew Kellaway, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Ben Donaldson, Tate McDermott; Rob Valetini, Tom Hooper, Rob Leota, Richie Arnold, Nick Frost, James Slipper, Dave Porecki [captain], Angus Bell.

Replacements: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Pone Fa'amausili, Matt Philip, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Carter Gordon, Suliasi Vunivalu.