Rugby World Cup: Team Briefing

David Pocock is available for selection. Photo / Getty Images
David Pocock is available for selection. Photo / Getty Images

Georgia draw big guns

Georgia have named their most experienced Rugby World Cup lineup for their Pool B clash with Romania tomorrow. The starting lineup boasts a total of 551 test caps. With an average age of 27 years, 323 days, it is also Georgia's second-oldest World Cup lineup. The oldest was the side which started Georgia's last match against England and which has been changed in three places for the match against Romania. David Zirakashvili, Giorgi Chkhaidze and Lasha Khmaladze join the starting XV.

Georgia v Romania:
Palmerston North, 7.30pm tomorrow

Pocock back to battle
David Pocock is available for selection for Australia's last Pool C match against Russia this weekend, delivering some good news for the Wallabies after a disastrous run of injuries at the Rugby World Cup. Pocock pulled out of Australia's starting lineup only hours before kick-off in the 15-6 loss to Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, then missed the win over the United States because of the same back problem.

His absence exposed the lack of a backup openside flanker in the 30-man Australian squad, with No 8 Ben McCalman forced to play on the side of the scrum.

Australia v Russia: Nelson,
3.30pm, Saturday

McLean replaces Masi
Luke McLean has replaced injured fullback Andrea Masi in the Italy team to face the United States tonight at Trafalgar Park. The change did not worry the Italians. Masi, at his third World Cup, had a strained calf muscle and was withdrawn as a precaution. Australian-born McLean, in his first World Cup, will make his second straight start. "Andrea Masi can't play and that is a big shame, but we can't risk playing him before the match with Ireland [this weekend]," Italy captain Sergio Parisse said.

Italy v USA:
Nelson, 7.30pm tonight

Scottish 'grief'
Scotland's attack coach Gregor Townsend said his players had set aside what has been described as "grief" at the 13-12 loss to Argentina to focus on their defining clash with England. "We're still in this tournament," Townsend said. "The biggest match of a Scottish rugby player's career is up against England every year in the Six Nations and we've got them at the World Cup." Scotland have scored only four tries at the tournament and all of those were in their 34-24 win over Romania in their opening match.

Scotland v England:
Eden Park, 8.30pm, Saturday

Russia headbutt alleged
Russia could be without hooker Valery Tsnobiladze for their clash with Australia after he was cited for headbutting an opponent in the Pool C match against Ireland on Sunday. The team has been informed and the case will be heard by the Independent Judicial Officer, Judge Jeff Blackett, of England. The hearing will take place in central Auckland at the Vero Building with the time and date still to be confirmed.

Russia v Australia:
Nelson, 3.30pm, Saturday

- NZ Herald

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