Viliame Mata Rugby World Cup: Hooper looking forward to teaming up with Pocock again

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Pool D: Australia v Fiji, Sapporo Dome, Saturday, 5.45am Irish time. Live on Eir Sport and ITV

Australia captain Michael Hooper is relishing the opportunity to link up with David Pocock for the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji on Saturday.

Coach Michael Cheika has selected the experienced pair in his backrow for the match in Sapporo, as they kick off a campaign that will also see them take on Wales, Georgia and Uruguay in Pool D.

The inclusion of Pocock at blindside at the expense of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto is the only variation from the team that started last month’s impressive 47-26 victory over New Zealand in Perth.

The duo will be joined in the backrow by number eight Isi Naisarani – one of three Fiji-born starters in the Australia XV.

“I am a fan of his [Pocock’s] work on the field, his ability to go over the ball, coupled with Isi – he can get over the ball too and he has got a great attacking game and some good defence work too,” said Hooper, who also started alongside Pocock in the 2015 final.

“It’s the first time this year we have played this sort of combinat

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