Uelese makes his Wallabies return for Fiji blockbuster

Fri, Sep 15, 2023, 7:14 AM
Rebels Media
by Rebels Media

Jordan Uelese will make his return to Test rugby’s biggest stage after overcoming injury, joining fellow Victorian Rob Leota and Rebel Carter Gordon in Eddie Jones’ Match Day 23 for Monday’s crucial clash with Fiji. 

Meanwhile, Test centurion James Slipper will become the third Australian to play in four Rugby World Cups named to start at tighthead prop in the Wallabies second Pool C game against Fiji in Saint-Etienne on Sunday evening (local time).

Slipper, who joins George Gregan and Adam Ashley-Cooper at the milestone, will replace the injured Taniela Tupou, while the experienced Nic White steps in for Tate McDermott at scrumhalf, with the vice-captain following the HIA protocols following the side’s opening win against Georgia last weekend. 

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones said: “Fiji is the most important match of our Rugby World Cup campaign.”

“It’s another big opportunity for our young side to keep getting better and we’ll be ready on Sunday.”

Slipper will pack down in the front row with David Porecki and Angus Bell, with the athletic Nick Frost set to play his first World Cup Test, named to start in the second row alongside captain Will Skelton.

Jones has named an unchanged back row for what will be the first of two pool matches at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, with the youthful Tom Hooper, Fraser McReight and Rob Valetini the loose forward trio.

White will partner Carter Gordon as the starting halves pairing for the first time in a Test, with Samu Kerevi and Jordan Petaia to continue their impressive partnership in the midfield.

After a man of the match performance in the opening match, Ben Donaldson has again been named at fullback, with Mark Nawaqanitawase and Marika Koroibete on the wings.

The young duo of Blake Schoupp and Zane Nonggorr have earned selection as the finishing props.

Richie Arnold swaps roles with Frost for the match, named as the finishing lock, with Rob Leota to provide versatility as cover across the remainder of the forward pack.

Port Douglas junior Issak Fines-Leleiwasa will play in his first Rugby World Cup fixture as the finishing scrumhalf, with Lalakai Foketi and Suliasi Vunivalu rounding out the matchday 23.

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Wallabies team to play Fiji at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne on Sunday 17 September, 5:45pm CET/1:45am Sunday AEST

1.   Angus Bell (25 Tests)

2.   David Porecki (16 Tests)

3.   James Slipper (131 Tests)

4.   Nick Frost (12 Tests)

5.   Will Skelton (c) (30 Tests)

6.   Tom Hooper (5 Tests)

7.   Fraser McReight (14 Tests)

8.   Rob Valetini (36 Tests)

9.   Nic White (64 Tests)

10.    Carter Gordon (6 Tests)

11.    Marika Koroibete (56 Tests)

12.    Samu Kerevi (46 Tests)

13.    Jordan Petaia (29 Tests)

14.    Mark Nawaqanitawase (8 Tests)

15.    Ben Donaldson (4 Tests)


16.    Jordan Uelese (18 Tests)

17.    Blake Schoupp (2 Tests)

18.    Zane Nonggorr (4 Tests)

19.    Richie Arnold (6 Tests)

20.    Rob Leota (18 Tests)

21.    Issak Fines-Leleiwasa (1 Test)

22.    Lalakai Foketi (7 Tests)

23. Suliasi Vunivalu (4 Tests)