Preview: Australia v Uruguay

Date published: September 25 2015

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Australia will continue to ease into the World Cup with what should be a straightforward win over Uruguay at Villa Park on Sunday.

The Wallabies claimed to be unconcerned about the subject of bonus points, after failing to pick one up against Fiji during the week.

That should be no such problem against los Teros, who will be aiming just to keep the final score below 50, having just failed to do so against Wales last weekend.

Australian eyes will be no doubt focused on Twickenham on Saturday evening, with their two main pool rivals going head-to-head.

They will pay particularly close attention to England, who they face next Saturday in what will be a crucial encounter.

By changing 14 players, Michael Cheika will have had the chance to see all his players in action in the tournament, something he believes will be crucial with the two biggest games in the pool still to come.

"We really want the entire squad to get a touch of the ball early at this Rugby World Cup and get everyone into match mode. We will need all 31 players ready for action throughout the tournament and this is the first chance to do that for many of this team," he explained.

"We've had a solid preparation for this match considering that we've had to play two games in five days and we're very happy with where the players are at.

"It's important we continue to improve each day as a collective."

Players to watch: 

For Australia: After waiting so long to get his chance for Australia, Henry Speight has not enjoyed the easiest transition onto the Test stage, losing his first three matches with the Wallabies. He ended that streak against the USA, and will start at outside centre for the second time on Sunday. He looked more than capable in midfield for the Brumbies this season, and his partnership with Matt Toomua should be intriguing. The Wallaby playmaker is currently not in the first choice lineup, despite having looked their best fly-half this season. Even against limited opposition, he'll be looking to make a point to Michael Cheika.

For Uruguay: Coming into the tournament Agustin Ormaechea had been singled out as the Uruguayan player with the greatest pedigree, and it showed against Wales where he was very sharp. His sniping runs surprised Wales on occasions while he was also very active in defence, racking up nine tackles. He'll need to do the same again versus the Wallabies.

Head-to-head: In the second row the two captains will go up against each other, with Uruguay skipper Santiago Vilaseca one of those to impress against Wales. Tireless in defence, he also carried well, and will hope to be just as busy around the park on Sunday. Since returning to Australia, Dean Mumm has stepped seamlessly back into the team with some fine performances during the Rugby Championship. While he is currently down the pecking order with Michael Cheika, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him force his way into the first choice starting lineup by the end of the pool stages.

Team news: Australia have made 14 changes to the side that beat Fiji in Cardiff on Wednesday, with Scott Sio the only player to keep his place. Toby Smith will make his first start for the Wallabies at tighthead prop, while Dean Mumm captains the team in the second row. Nick Phipps and Quade Cooper combine in the half-backs, with Matt Toomua linking up with Henry Speight in midfield.

Uruguay have made five changes to the team that lost to Wales, with Leandro Leivas coming onto to the right wing in the only change to the backline. Juan Manuel Gaminara switches from blindside to number eight to accommodate Juan de Freitas, while Franco Lamanna comes into the second row. Finally loosehead Mateo Sanguinetti and hooker German Kessler also come into the starting lineup.

Previous results:

First meeting between the sides.

Prediction: Even with 14 changes, this should be a walk in the park for Australia. The Uruguayans have had a week to recover from their game against Wales but the best they can probably hope for is scoring a first try of the tournament. Australia by 50! 

The teams:

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Henry Speight, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Sean McMahon, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Toby Smith, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Rob Simmons, 21 Will Genia, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.

Uruguay: 15 Gaston Mieres, 14 Leandro Leivas, 13 Joaquin Prada, 12 Andres Vilaseca, 11 Rodrigo Silva, 10 Felipe Berchesi, 9 Agustin Ormaechea, 8 Juan Manuel Gaminara, 7 Matias Beer, 6 Juan De Freitas, 5 Franco Lamanna, 4 Santiago Vilaseca (c), 3 Mario Sagario, 2 German Kessler, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti. 
Replacements: 16 Nicolas Klappenbach, 17 Oscar Duran, 18 Carlos Arboleya, 19 Alejandro Nieto, 20 Diego Magno, 21 Fernando Bascou, 22 Alejo Duran, 23 Alberto Roman.

Date: Sunday, September 27
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Kick-off: 12:00 local (11:00 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

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