Young gun axed as Eddie makes curious captain call

LYON: Dave Porecki will captain the Wallabies in their must win clash with Wales on Monday (AEST) as Eddie Jones’ curious calls continue at the Rugby World Cup in France.

Wallabies vice captain Tate McDermott has recovered from concussion to start at halfback but has not been given the skipper’s armband in the continued absence of captain Will Skelton (calf).

Hooker Porecki captained Australia for the first time in their historic 22-15 loss to Fiji which put the Wallabies in danger of missing out on the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

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As forecast, Jones has made the bold call to dump five-eighth Carter Gordon for utility Ben Donaldson, who started at fullback against Fiji.

That allows Andrew Kellaway to make his first appearance at the tournament in the No.15 jersey while flanker Rob Leota comes in for Fraser McReight in the third change to the starting XV.

“Every team has matches like this during a Rugby World Cup and for this young team it is this week,” Jones said.

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“We’ve prepared well, are focused on what we need to do, and we’ll be ready to fight.”

Wales are top of Pool C on 10 points ahead of Fiji and Australia (both six).

The top two teams progress to the quarter-finals in Marseille.

Jones did not want to expand on the reasons for Gordon’s axing other than to say he “struggled a bit against Fiji.”

“At the moment we feel like it’s best to pull him away a little bit. Obviously, disappointed,” Jones said.

“Every (dropped) player is disappointed. They all want to start. But he knows he’s got an important role in the team.”

Carter Gordon axed for must win Wallabies match

Jones said Donaldson would bring a “freshness” to five-eighth.

“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.”

Jones also explained his captaincy call at the team’s hotel.

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“I know the captaincy is a key role. But we just feel the consistency from Dave from last week to this week and allow Tate to come back in and play his game will be important.”

Meanwhile, Wales coach Warren Gatland recalled 12 players from their opening match against Fiji after being rested against Portugal.

Of the starting side, only Taulupe Faletau, Louis Rees-Zammit and captain Jac Morgan remain from that game.

WALLABIES (15-1): 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 (c), Angus Bell

Reserves: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Philip, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Carter Gordon, Suliasi Vunivalu

WALES (15-1): Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies, Taulupe Faletau, Jac Morgan (c), Aaron Wainwright, Adam Beard, Will Rowlands, Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Gareth Thomas

Reserves: Elliot Dee, Corey Domachowski, Henry Thomas, Dafydd Jenkins, Taine Basham, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Rio Dyer

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