Rugby League World Cup: Australia team to face England named by Tim Sheens

Last Updated: 26/10/13 2:13pm

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Tim Sheens has named his team to face England

Tim Sheens has named his team to face England

Sky Bet

Australia coach Tim Sheens has named his starting line-up for their Rugby League World Cup opener against England in Cardiff on Saturday.

Brent Tate is a surprise selection in the centres, as he has edged out Michael Jennings for the starting spot in place of the injured Justin Hodges.

Robbie Farah is named on the bench with Sheens having a definite game plan for using the Wests Tigers captain to target the big England forwards later in the game.

Farah, who beat Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans to a spot on the bench, will play at dummy-half and act as a back-up plan for Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston at half.

Captain Cameron Smith is expected to play the full game, while Andrew Fifta is set to make his debut for the Kangaroos off the bench.

"I like the idea of Farah's dummy-half running against the English forwards, especially when they get tired," Sheens told

"Cameron [Smith] can then go back to 13 and play a ball-playing role. We used that system in Townsville last year and it worked really well.

"Robbie is a specialist nine and can play some seven. Our outside backs will be covered by [Luke] Lewis - he can play second row, centre, wing. He played wing for us two years ago in a Test match at Wembley when Billy [Slater] got hurt. Lewis covers the outside backs, Farah covers technically nine and the inside backs.

"If I play Robbie, it will probably be to play Cameron at 13, so I won't be replacing Cameron unless he needs a break.

"You have to cover every base. We didn't anticipate losing Billy for the tournament two years ago, so we have to cover those options and I think we have hopefully every scenario covered in this game."

Australia team: Billy Slater, Brett Morris, Brent Tate, Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matthew Scott, Cameron Smith (capt), James Tamou, Greg Bird, Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen (vc).
Interchange: (from) Robbie Farah, Andrew Fifita, Luke Lewis, Corey Parker, Jarryd Hayne, Nate Myles.

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