Mal Meninga names star-studded Australia team for Fiji clash but one of world’s best misses out as we get first look at strange squad numbers

As the World Cup draws closer with kick off set for Saturday as England take on Samoa at St James’ Park, excitement is starting to build.

Straight after that battle in Newcastle, Australia take on Fiji at Headingley as they begin the defence of their trophy which they won in 2013 and 2017.

As they start on their journey to what they hope will be a third consecutive World Cup, coach Mal Meninga has named his side for the opening game.

It is a star studded line up that also shows just how strange their teams will look with the system they are using for their squad numbers which rewards the longer serving players with smaller shirt numbers.

This sees a wing-centre partnership of nine and eight as Josh Addo-Carr and friend Latrell Mitchell pose a massive threat on the edge.

Skipper James Tedesco starts at fullback. Wearing number two, Daly Cherry-Evans starts at seven with Nathan Cleary missing out having only just played in the NRL Grand Final winning a second consecutive title with Penrith.

Ben Hunt, wearing number three, starts at nine whilst Kake Trbojevic is at prop wearing the number five.

Cameron Murray starts at 13 wearing 11.

Meninga has two ball players on the bench in exciting debutant hooker Harry Grant and the versatile Jack Wighton.

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