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SAPPORO, Japan (AP) — David Pocock and Michael Hooper will combine in the backrow for the first time this year when two-time champion Australia opens its Rugby World Cup campaign against Fiji on Saturday.
Pocock has missed most of the season because of injury but returned in a warmup match against Samoa and did enough to earn his place in the backrow at the expense of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto. He’ll start at No. 6 for the first time since 2016, and will become the fourth Wallaby to start at No. 6, 7 and 8 during the World Cup.
Hooper will start on the openside and Salakaia-Loto is expected to come in off the bench. Two of the best openside flankers in the game, Pocock and Hooper have regularly combined in the backrow
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