Slipper to break Wallabies World Cup record against Portugal

Fri, Sep 29, 2023, 7:27 AM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
James Slipper will become the most capped Wallaby at Rugby World Cups on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images
James Slipper will become the most capped Wallaby at Rugby World Cups on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images

Wallabies centurion James Slipper will break George Gregan’s record for the most Rugby World Cup matches by an Australian when he runs out at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard against Portugal on Sunday.

The 34-year-old will start at tighthead prop in what will be his 21st Test over four tournaments, putting him one clear of Gregan who sits on 20.

Slipper has been named in an unchanged front row by head coach Eddie Jones, which features Angus Bell and David Porecki, who will captain the side in the first ever meeting between Australia and Portugal.

Fraser McReight returns at openside flanker in the only change to the forward pack, with ACT Brumbies loose forward duo of Tom Hooper and Rob Valetini featuring in every minute of the tournament so far.

Winger Mark Nawaqanitawase, the only other Wallaby yet to miss a minute, has again been named on the right wing with Andrew Kellaway at fullback and Marika Koroibete on the left edge in what will be his 59th Test for Australia.

Nick Frost and Richie Arnold will again combine in the starting second row, with vice-captain Tate McDermott and Ben Donaldson partnering in the halves for consecutive Tests.

Waratahs pair Lalakai Foketi and Izaia Perese have been named as the midfield pairing, the latter starting his first ever Test at outside centre.

Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp and Pone Fa’amausili are the finishing front row, with Rob Leota set to feature as the finishing lock. His club teammate Josh Kemeny has been selected for his first World Cup appearance as the remaining forward cover in just his second Test.

Issak Fines-Leleiwasa will bring spark as the finishing scrumhalf, with Carter Gordon named as the finishing playmaker and one of just four players to feature in every Wallabies Test so far in 2023. Suliasi Vunivalu has been named as the finishing outside back in all four pool matches.

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones said: “This is an important game for this young team to attack from the first minute to the 80th. We need to empty the tank.”

“We have a responsibility to put in a performance that makes supporters proud on Sunday, those that have travelled to France and at home in Australia.”

Watch all the action from Rugby World Cup on Stan Sport with every match streaming ad-free, live and on demand in 4K UHD. Wallabies matches will also be shown live on the Nine Network.

Wallabies team to play Portugal at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne on Sunday 1 October, 5:45pm CET/2:45am Monday AEST
  1. Angus Bell (27 Tests)
  2. David Porecki (c) (18 Tests)
  3. James Slipper (133 Tests)
  4. Nick Frost (14 Tests)
  5. Richie Arnold (8 Tests)
  6. Tom Hooper (7 Tests)
  7. Fraser McReight (16 Tests) 
  8. Rob Valetini (38 Tests)
  9. Tate McDermott (28 Tests)
  10. Ben Donaldson (6 Tests) 
  11. Marika Koroibete (58 Tests)
  12. Lalakai Foketi (8 Tests)
  13. Izaia Perese (5 Tests)
  14. Mark Nawaqanitawase (10 Tests)
  15. Andrew Kellaway (25 Tests)
  16. Matt Faessler (4 Tests)
  17. Blake Schoupp (4 Tests)
  18. Pone Fa’amausili (6 Tests)
  19. Rob Leota (20 Tests)
  20. Josh Kemeny (1 Test)
  21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa (2 Tests)
  22. Carter Gordon (8 Tests)
  23. Suliasi Vunivalu (6 Tests)
2023 Fixtures Rugby World Cup Fixtures

Wallabies 35 defeated Georgia 15 on Saturday 9 September at Stade de France, Paris

Wallabies 15 defeated by Fiji 22 on Sunday 17 September at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne

Wallabies 6 defeated by Wales 40 on Sunday 24 September at OL Stadium, Lyon

Wallabies v Portugal, 5:45pm CEST/1:45am AEST, Sunday 1 October at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne