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Farah is Sheens' secret weapon

Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens plans to use Robbie Farah to target England's monster forward pack late in Australia's World Cup opener against the tournament hosts this weekend.

Farah edged out Manly's Clive Churchill Medal winner Daly Cherry-Evans to take a spot on Australia's bench for the match, with the Wests Tigers captain will to play his first Test match since 2012 and the fifth of his career.

Starting hooker and skipper Cameron Smith is still expected to play the full 80 minutes, with Farah to spend some time at dummy-half and act as a back-up for halves Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.

"I like the idea of Farah's dummy-half running against the English forwards, especially when they get tired," Sheens told NRL.com.

"Cameron [Smith] can then go back to 13 and play a ball-playing role. We used that system in Townsville last year and it worked really well.

"Robbie is a specialist nine and can play some seven. Our outside backs will be covered by [Luke] Lewis – he can play second row, centre, wing. He played wing for us two years ago in a Test match at Wembley when Billy [Slater] got hurt. Lewis covers the outside backs, Farah covers technically nine and the inside backs.

"If I play Robbie, it will probably be to play Cameron at 13, so I won't be replacing Cameron unless he needs a break.

"You have to cover every base. We didn't anticipate losing Billy for the tournament two years ago, so we have to cover those options and I think we have hopefully every scenario covered in this game."

Brent Tate was the other surprise selection in the centres, pipping Michael Jennings to take the position vacated by the injured Justin Hodges, while Andrew Fifita will make his Kangaroos debut off the bench.

Australian team to face England: Billy Slater, Brett Morris, Brent Tate, Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matthew Scott, Cameron Smith (capt), James Tamou, Greg Bird, Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen (vc). Interchange: Robbie Farah, Andrew Fifita, Luke Lewis, Corey Parker, Jarryd Hayne, Nate Myles. (two to be omitted).

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