Australia v France - teams and prediction
THIRD TEST: It is being played out in the shadow of the British and Lions tour of South Africa. Yet, it has been every bit as dramatic as the four-yearly event taking place 11,000 kilometres to the West.
Australia and France will be looking to the future when they take to the field for the series-deciding third Test in Brisbane on Saturday.
While both teams will be desperate to claim the three-Test series, respective coaches Dave Rennie and Fabien Galthie will also have one eye on the 2023 World Cup to be played in France.
Australia clinched the first Test of the series on July 7 with a nail-biting 23-21 win after kicking an 83rd-minute penalty, only for France to turn the tables with an equally close 28-26 triumph in Melbourne on Tuesday, their first win over the Wallabies on Australian soil since 1990.
While Galthie had little choice but to pick a young team with most of his usual starters remaining in France, Rennie has thrown the dice, making eight changes to his starting side for the third Test, including run-on debuts for scrumhalf Tate McDermott, lock Darcy Swain and outside centre Len Ikitau.
Rennie said the schedule of three Tests in just 10 days meant changes were necessary, but that each player deserved his place in the side.
“We always knew with the scheduling of the series against a tough French side that it would require a full squad effort, and we’re going to see that on Saturday,” Rennie said.
“We were disappointed with the result in Melbourne and we’ll be out to rectify that with more accuracy and composure in key moments in Brisbane.
“As always, we’ve picked a team that has earned the right to wear the gold jersey and we’re confident they’ll get the job done in Brisbane.”
Galthie said the tour has afforded some young players a rare opportunity.
“It’s an unprecedented format [three Tests in 10 days] which forced us to adapt,” Galthie said when announcing the changes, adding that all players in the squad were in contention for the 2023 World Cup.
“Some won’t have had the chance to wear the jersey but we made them understand that they were part of the project until the 2023 World Cup.
“Everything these players have been able to experience [on the tour] will be very important for their career.”
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Players to watch
For Australia: In the forward pack, Allan Alaalatoa comes back in at tighthead prop for Taniela Tupou, who returns to the bench, while the abrasive Lachlan Swinton starts at openside flank and Isi Naisarani at No.8 in place of Harry Wilson. Filipo Daugunu has also been brought in to start on the right wing, while Hunter Paisami moves from outside centre to No.12 to allow Ikitau to start.
For France: Galthie has made seven changes to the team that beat Australia in Melbourne. After shuffling his pack for the second Test, the French coach switched four forwards for the third, with Clermont tighthead prop Sipili Falatea and Montpellier loosehead prop Enzo Forletta coming in. They will line up alongside Toulon lock Romain Taofifenua and Lyon flank Dylan Cretin. Galthie also shook up the backs, with wing Teddy Thomas, France’s most experienced player, getting the nod for the first time on tour. Flyhalf Antoine Hastoy and centre Pierre-Louis Barassi will also start.
Head to head
2021: France won 28-26, Melbourne
2021: Australia won 23–21, Brisbane
2016: Australia won 25-23, Paris
2014: France won 29–26, Paris
2014: Australia won 39–13, Sydney
2014: Australia won 6–0, Melbourne
2014: Australia won 50–23, Brisbane
2012: France won 33–6, Paris
2010: Australia won 59-16, Paris
2009: Australia won 22–6, Sydney
@rugby365com: Australia by five points
Australia: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Rob Valetini, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Matt To’omua, 23 Reece Hodge.
France: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Pierre-Louis Barassi, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Antoine Hastoy, 9 Baptiste Couilloud, 8 Anthony Jelonch (captain), 7 Cameron Woki, 6 Dylan Cretin, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Cyril Cazeaux, 3 Sipili Falatea, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 1 Enzo Forletta.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Quentin Walcker, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 20 Alexandre Becognee, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Anthony Bouthier, 23 Julien Heriteau.
Date: Saturday, July 17
Venue: Lang Park, Brisbane
Kick-off: 20.00 (12.00 French time; 10.00 GMT)
Expected weather: Clear, with strong winds – 30 to 45 km/h
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)