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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
Wallabies to open with strong XV
Stirling Mortlock
Mortlock skippers a sure-to-be-competitive Wallabies squad
Australia coach John Connolly says he will name a strong side for their opening World Cup match against Japan in Lyon on 8 September.

"We'll pick close to our best side for Japan and we'll run with that for the Wales game (in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 15 September)," he said.

Stirling Mortlock is captain with Phil Waugh and George Gregan his deputies.

"Stirling embraced the captaincy during the Tri-Nations and led from the front with his performances," said Connolly.

"Players enjoy playing with him and his leadership has grown during the year."

Fiji and Canada make up Group B alongside Wales, the Wallabies and Japan.

Gregan will be taking part in his fourth World Cup before moving to play club rugby in France, and Stephen Larkham and Chris Latham will both compete in their third tournament.

There are few surprises in Connolly's squad, although the selection of 21-year-old Berrick Barnes as second-choice fly-half, ahead of Sam Norton-Knight, was not widely predicted.

Prop Greg Holmes is named ahead of Benn Robinson and Rodney Blake, despite missing the whole of the domestic Test campaign with shoulder problems.

And number eights Wycliff Palu and David Lyons are both included despite recent injuries.

The squad leave Sydney on Thursday for a week's training in Portugal, and are due to arrive at their tournament base in Montpellier on 31 August.

Australia World Cup squad:

Backs: Chris Latham (Queensland Reds), Julian Huxley (ACT Brumbies), Adam Ashley-Cooper (ACT Brumbies), Lote Tuqiri (NSW Waratahs), Mark Gerrard (ACT Brumbies), Drew Mitchell (Western Force), Stirling Mortlock (ACT Brumbies, capt), Matt Giteau (Western Force), Scott Staniforth (Western Force), Stephen Larkham (ACT Brumbies), Berrick Barnes (Queensland Reds), George Gregan (ACT Brumbies, vice-capt) Sam Cordingley (Queensland Reds)

Forwards: David Lyons (NSW Waratahs), Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Hoiles (ACT Brumbies), Hugh McMeniman (Queensland Reds), Phil Waugh (NSW Waratahs, vice-capt), George Smith (ACT Brumbies), Rocky Elsom (NSW Waratahs), Nathan Sharpe (Western Force), Dan Vickerman (NSW Waratahs), Mark Chisholm (ACT Brumbies), Al Baxter (NSW Waratahs), Matt Dunning (NSW Waratahs), Greg Holmes (Queensland Reds), Guy Shepherdson (ACT Brumbies), Stephen Moore (Queensland Reds), Sean Hardman (Queensland Reds), Adam Freier (NSW Waratahs)

Rugby World Cup 2007 fixtures
11 Jan 07 |  Rugby Union
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