Ben Donaldson Wallabies fullback for Fiji clash, France tested by Uruguay

Donaldson was a surprise selection at No.15 last week against Georgia in Australia’s opening 35-15 victory of the tournament but repaid the faith by churning out a man of the match performance.

The Wallabies face selection dilemmas for their clash against Fiji.

The Waratahs playmaker, who had trained at fullback during Wallabies camps this year, scored two tries in a 25-point haul in Paris.

Andrew Kellaway was unlucky to miss selection but the jersey now appears to be Donaldson’s to lose.

The Wallabies don’t name their team to face Fiji until Friday afternoon Australian time (5:30pm AEST) but informed sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have told this masthead that Donaldson is poised to line up at fullback once again.

There had been calls for Kellaway to come back into the starting XV, after playing both Bledisloe Cup matches and a warm-up against France, but the Melbourne Rebels utility back may have to settle for a role on the bench.

Wallabies fullback Ben Donaldson against Georgia. Getty

Donaldson was picked at fullback last week to alleviate pressure on No.10 Carter Gordon, whose kicking off the tee was wayward against France.

Gordon is set to start at No.10 once again.

Former Wallabies fullback Mat Rogers suggested this week he would have gone with Kellaway at No.15 for the Fiji clash.

“I don’t think they have to keep [Donaldson],” said Rogers on Stan Sport. “I think what you lose in goal-kicking you make up for in playing ability [by picking Kellaway]. I’m not taking anything away from Ben Donaldson’s performance but this is going to be an incredibly physical match. I think Andrew Kellaway plays the match a little more physical than Donaldson.

“I noticed a couple of things that I wasn’t rapt with in terms of Ben’s performance defensively and that’s a concern given who we’re coming up against.”

Meanwhile, All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens said he would have Donaldson in his starting XV.

“I think you’ve got to have Donaldson in there as the cleanest kicking option at the moment,” Merhtens said on Stan Sport.

Jones has a difficult selection between Nic White or Issak Fines-Leleiwasa for the starting halfback role after Tate McDermott was ruled out with concussion that he suffered against Georgia.

Tight-head prop Taniela Tupou is unlikely to take part in the Test after picking up a “minor hamstring” injury, according to Wallabies officials. An official timeline on his injury is expected on Friday when Jones names his team.

Fellow prop James Slipper, who is recovering from a foot injury, may have to swap sides in the scrum to cover the loss of Tupou if he is officially scratched for the match in Saint-Etienne.

More to come

France pushed all the way by battling Uruguay

France backed up their with a highly entertaining 27-12 victory over Uruguay on Thursday (Friday AEST) as the inspired outsiders made the second-string hosts work desperately hard for their points while scoring two fine tries.

Uruguay stunned the home fans when Nicolas Freitas scooped up a loose ball to score the opening try after six minutes and though Antoine Hastoy and the boot of Melvyn Jaminet edged France clear, they were lucky to lead 13-5 at half-time after a second try for the visitors by Felipe Etcheverry was harshly ruled out for obstruction.

Balatazar Amaya’s second-half try brought Uruguay within a point of the tournament favourites. Getty

They were not to be denied 13 minutes after the break, though, as Baltazar Amaya scored a brilliant try that Etcheverry converted to bring Uruguay, playing with remarkable confidence, within a point.

France, struggling with discipline all night, hit back quickly with a try by Peato Mauvaka but were still unable to take command and managed only one more, for Louis Bielle-Biarrey.

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