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TOKYO (AP) — In dropping Christian Leali’ifano, Kurtley Beale, and Nic White from the starting lineup to play Wales, Australia coach Michael Cheika said the moves were planned before the Rugby World Cup.
All three backs started in the comeback win over Fiji last weekend in Sapporo.
But Cheika decided Friday to turn back the clock to the 2015 World Cup — when Australia beat Wales 15-6, also in the pool stage — and start flyhalf Bernard Foley, scrumhalf Will Genia, Adam Ashley-Cooper on the right wing vacated by the suspended Reece Hodge, and with fullback Dane Haylett-Petty.
“They’re not form decisions,” Cheika said. “I just want to make a different picture for this game.
“I’m not going to talk about the picture I’m trying to create because I might as well go to the opposition and give them my notes. Not that that makes any difference, I suppose.”
Cheika said the balance at the start and off the bench was tailored to the opposition.
“I feel like this is a good combination for this game,” he said. “What’s also good about it is we’ve got Nic White, Kurtley Beale, Adam Coleman, Sekope Kepu, James Slipper, and Lukhan (Salakaia-Loto) coming to finish the game with the impact we’ll need to beat one of the top teams.”
Wales coach Warren Gatland, who pic
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