Australia Leaves O’Connor on Bench for Rugby World Cup Opener Versus Italy

Australia named an unchanged team for its Sept. 11 Rugby World Cup opener against Italy in Auckland, naming James O’Connor on the bench following the winger’s return from suspension.

Selectors retained the starting 15 from the Tri-Nations title-clinching victory over New Zealand on Aug. 27. O’Connor sat out that match after he was suspended for missing the Wallabies’ World Cup squad announcement.

On the replacements’ bench, O’Connor, hooker Tatafu Polota- Nau and prop James Slipper replace Rob Horne, Saia Fainga’a and Salesi Ma’afu, respectively.

Slipper and Polota-Nau were named in Australia’s 22-man Test squad for the first time this year after missing the five previous matches because of injuries.

AUSTRALIA: Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Anthony Faingaa, Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Radike Samo, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom, James Horwill (captain), Dan Vickerman, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu.

Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Burgess, James O’Connor.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Baynes at

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