Michael Cheika has reinstated loosies David Pocock and Michael Hooper in his RWC lineup. Photo: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

SAPPORO – Michael Cheika has reinstated his 'Pooper' loose forward combination for their World Cup Pool D opener against Fiji in Sapporo on Saturday, with David Pocock and Michael Hooper to give the Wallabies a dual threat at the breakdown.

Pocock, who only made his return to rugby earlier this month after battling a long-term calf injury, will wear the number six jersey while Hooper will play openside flanker.

Isi Naisarani will stay at number eight with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, who impressed as blindside flanker this season, dropped to the bench.

Cheika first played the pair in the back row ahead of the last World Cup in England, although Pocock played as a number eight when in combination with Hooper.

Cheika said his decision was partly due to the players' experience, not just their ability to win turnovers.

Nic White and Christian Leali'ifano have also been reinstated as the preferred halves, while James O'Connor and Samu Kerevi have been selected in the midfield.

Cheika said he had several tough selection calls ahead of the Fiji game, especially with the front row.

The Australia team is:

15-Kurtley Beale, 14-Reece Hodge, 13-James O'Connor, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Christian Leali'ifano, 9-Nic White, 8-Isi Naisarani, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6-David Pocock, 5-Rory Arnold, 4-Izack Rodda, 3-Allan Alaalatoa, 2-Tolu Latu, 1-Scott Sio

Replacements: 

16-Jordan Uelese, 17-James Slipper, 18-Sekope Kepu, 19-Adam Coleman, 20-Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21-Will Genia, 22-Matt Toomua, 23-Dane Haylett-Petty

Reuters