France change five for second Australia Test
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: France coach Fabien Galthie made five changes to his team for the second Test against Australia at Melbourne, all of them in the pack, when he announced the side on Sunday.
Castres prop Wilfrid Hounkpatin and Stade Francais lock Pierre-Henri Azagoh both come into the side to win their first caps on Tuesday as Les Bleus attempt to level the three-match series.
They are joined by Cameron Woki and Ibrahim Diallo in the back row with Bordeaux-Begles lock Cyril Cazeaux also coming into the side to form a new second-row combination with Azagoh who made just six starts in the Top 14 last season.
“He [Azagoh] is a discovery,” said Galthie who has been attracted by the 22-year-old’s selflessness on the field.
“[He] plays in the shadows, he’s a worker, very active who shows a lot of intelligence and doesn’t play for himself. He can be another revelation on this tour.”
The Wallabies won the first Test 23-21 on Wednesday against a France side missing players from Top 14 finalists Toulouse and La Rochelle who would not have had time to complete Australia’s coronavirus entry quarantine.
Galthie kept faith with his entire back division including rookie fullback Melvyn Jaminet whose error at the end of the match allowed Australia the chance to win the game at the death.
“These seven players, to varying degrees, did all right. The important thing is that they feel confident,” said Galthie.
“We decided not to change the halfbacks. It’s part of the learning process.
“For a lot of rookie players this is a time of accelerated learning.”
France have not won a Test in Australia since 1990. The third Test takes place in Brisbane on Saturday.
France: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Louis Carbonel, 9 Baptiste Couilloud, 8 Anthony Jelonch (captain), 7 Cameron Woki, 6 Ibrahim Diallo, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 3 Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Enzo Forletta, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Killian Geraci, 20 Romain Taofifenua, 21 Sekou Macalou, 22 Teddy Iribaren, 23 Anthony Bouthier.
Date: Tuesday, July 13
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 20.00 (12.00 French time; 10.00 GMT)
Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)