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Georgia hold potent sting, warns Australia lock Arnold

Australia come into the World Cup after losing all five Tests this year (JEFF PACHOUD)
Australia come into the World Cup after losing all five Tests this year (JEFF PACHOUD)

Australian lock Richie Arnold says Australia will "get stung" if they under-estimate their first Rugby World Cup opponents Georgia on Saturday at the Stade de France.

The Australians have lost all five Tests this year and so arrive with no great expectations back home that they will be lifting the Webb-Ellis trophy for a third time come October 28.

Georgia pose a stern test of even the Wallabies' ability to qualify from a pool that also includes an in-form Fiji and Wales.

"You can't underestimate them," said Arnold at Tuesday's press conference.

"If you sleep on them, you'll get stung."

Australia head coach Eddie Jones -- who guided the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup final where they lost to a last-gasp Jonny Wilkinson drop goal in extra-time -- has opted largely for youth.

However, at 33 Arnold is a rare exception and only won his first cap earlier this year, following his twin brother Rory in being capped at Test level.

Rory, though, did not make Jones's squad despite having over 30 caps.

"It's been a hell of a ride," said Richie Arnold. "It's a crazy journey. Me and Rory are really close.

"I was on the phone to him on the day before (his debut in the 43-12 thrashing by South Africa in July). I pick his brain, anything he can help with my game."

- 'Unreal player' -

Jones looks set to be able to select the matchday squad from practically a full set of players, according to lineout coach Dan Palmer.

"(James Slipper) has obviously got a little niggle with his foot but he's coming good," said Palmer.

"We've seen him progress this week, obviously not into full training yet but progressing well."

He said prop Pone Fa'amausili and centre Samu Kerevi had also been training well.

Palmer says there was a sense within the Australian group that despite the poor results they are coming together and going to bloom at the right moment.

"We are seeing the group get tighter, we are seeing ourselves adapt better under fatigue and under pressure, so there is a real feeling in the group we are growing," he said.

He also rejects the idea that this is a squad that will fulfil its promise in four years' time and this edition is merely to blood them.

"I don't see this World Cup as a free hit," said Palmer.

"We are here to impose ourselves on every team we come up against and we are in a good position to do that.

"We plan on going deep into this competition."

One of the youngsters that great things are expected of is 19-year-old Max Jorgensen, who can play either on the wing or full-back.

Palmer said he had impressed in training and "has not missed a beat since he got into camp."

Jordan Petaia knows what it is like to be an 18-year-old at a World Cup as that was how old he was in 2019 in Japan.

The sparkling Wallaby centre says Jorgensen is an "unreal player."

"He is elusive, he's a quick learner, gets along well with the boys," said Petaia.

"If he does (make his Australia debut) I'd say 'Take it full throttle, don't hold back. Enjoy it'."