Izzy Falou will be looking at this as a prelude to the World Cup. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Getty Images
Wallabies v France
Saturday June 8 – 8:00 PM (AEST)
It was time for a change. The fans knew it, even the players knew it. Coach Ewen McKenzie has made some massive changes to his Wallabies squad heading into Saturday's test against France. The Frenchmen have come to Australia looking to continue their momentum heading into the World Cup next year. With a new look forward pack, the Wallabies can atone for the being completely dominated last time these two met way back in 2012.
Stephen Moore has been given the honour to captain the Wallabies. Backed up by vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper, Moore will use his years of experience to lead his men against a tenacious French side. McKenzie has left incumbency at the door, starting with the halves. Experienced halves pairing of Quade Cooper (injured) and Will Genia (dropped) have made way for Brumbies scrum-half Nic White and Waratahs fly-half Bernard Foley. Foley, who earned four caps during his maiden Test season in 2013, has been rewarded for a superb Super Rugby campaign and will take on the goal-kicking responsibilities in his first starting opportunity for the Wallabies. White has made the No.9 jersey his own, after starting three times last year against Argentina and South Africa during the 2013 Rugby Championship. Prop James Slipper and No.8 Wycliff Palu are both set for their 50th cap for Australia, a huge milestone for the pair.
France has brought over a near full-strength squad, yet about half of their first-choice side is sitting on the sidelines. Only time will tell whether it’s a tactical ploy by coach Philippe Saint-Andre’, or a lack of respect for the new look Wallabies. France’s preparation has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Playing in the Six Nations in March, they had some very different performances. Beating both England and Italy in sensational fashion, they followed up with poor performances against Wales (losing 27-6) and Scotland (narrowly winning 19-17). Coach Saint-Andre’ has proclaimed France needs to win in Australia, or risk losing any momentum they have built on the road to the World Cup. This French side is shadow of its best, but still has some players that will definitely trouble the Wallabies. Scrum-half Maxime Machenaud is one of the best in Europe, and winger Yoann Huget is so dominant out wide, it will take all of Australia’s back three to contain him.
It may be their second-string side, but the French still have some quality players. If halves Foley and White can work together, it will go a long way to a Wallabies win.
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