Two-time champions Australia get their 2023 World Cup campaign underway against Georgia on Saturday at the Stade de France.
The Wallabies head into the tournament having lost their last five matches and face an opponent who won’t back down from a challenge.
Australia have been boosted by the news that centre Samu Kerevi is fit to take his place in the starting XV, with Eddie Jones making three changes to the side that lost to France last month.
Kerevi replaces Lalakai Foketi while the other changes see Ben Donaldson start at full-back and Marika Koroibete come into the line-up on the wing.
Donaldson will play 15 for his country for the first time, having normally been used at fly-half, but Jones feels his goalkicking could be key during the tournament.
It’s worth noting that this is an inexperienced Wallabies party, with 17 of those selected for the matchday squad having never played at a World Cup before.
Meanwhile, Georgia will feature nine players who faced Australia when the two teams met at the 2019 World Cup.
Twelve of their team play their club rugby in France, including Biarritz flanker Tornike Jalaghonia and Davit Niniashvili, who plays on the wing for Lyon.
Australia Win By 16-20 points @ 6/1
Amazingly, Australia are still searching for their first win in Eddie Jones’ second stint in charge and confidence will be low heading into what looks like a wide-open tournament in the northern hemisphere.
The 1999 champions finished bottom of the Rugby Championship standings, after losing all three matches, and are as big as 12/1 to lift the Webb Ellis Cup this year.
Their issues were highlighted by a 41-17 defeat to France in their final warm-up match, but Jones has proved the doubters wrong before and will feel his team can sneak under the radar.
Against the odds, the 63-year-old led England to the final four years ago and insists the “excitement level in the group is high”.
Australia have only met Georgia on one previous occasion and their victory was not as comfortable as expected – running out 27-8 victors in Japan.
Akaki Tabutsadze – Anytime Tryscorer @ 7/4
There has been growing talk over the possibility of Georgia replacing Italy in the Six Nations and they will see the World Cup as the perfect platform to show their ability.
A recent 13-12 win over Wales in Cardiff highlighted what they are capable of, although their results against the very top nations suggest they still have improvements to make.
Around that win over the Welsh, Georgia lost 33-6 and 48-7 against Scotland, suffered a 41-15 defeat to France and a 40-9 loss to South Africa.
One player who has stood out in recent Tests is Akaki Tabutsadze, with the winger scoring 10 tries in Georgia’s last eight matches and he is 7/4 to cross over on Saturday.