The Wallabies team has been named for Wednesday’s match against France, the first Test in the three-match series. The three sides will face off three times in eleven days, in their first Test since 2016.
Despite several injuries to key players, the Wallabies have named a strong side and will have the chance to test some new combinations. Halfback Jake Gordon will pair with Noah Lolesio in an untested pairing to lead the Wallabies.
With James O’Connor, Nic White and Reece Hodge unable to be considered due to injury, coach Dave Rennie trusted Gordon to settle Lolosio, after his challenging debut against the All Blacks last year. In Lolesio’s last start for the Wallabies, the All Blacks won 43-5 in driving rain in Sydney.
After Lolesio’s Super Rugby’s campaign last year was affected by injury, this year he found form with the ACT Brumbies, despite their poor showing in the Trans-Tasman Super Rugby.
Despite only returning to Super Rugby with the Melbourne Rebels for the Trans-Tasman competition, Andrew Kellaway was a surprise pick on the bench. Kellaway’s versatility allowed him to be picked, as a true utility back who can play any of the outside back positions.
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It’s expected that most of the 38 man squad previously selected will appear at some point in the series, given the tight turnaround between matches.
Rennie expects that O’Connor and hooker Feleti Kaitu’u will be fit later in the series, as changes are made to find the best combinations. The Wallabies will be hoping to rebound after a tough start to Rennie’s Wallabies coaching career, with one victory from six matches.
Full Wallabies Team as named
|15||Tom Banks||Fullback||11 Caps|
|14||Tom Wright||Wing||3 Caps|
|13||Hunter Paisami||Outside Centre||6 Caps|
|12||Matt To’omua||Inside Centre||54 Caps|
|11||Marika Koroibete||Wing||32 Caps|
|10||Noah Lolesio||Flyhalf||2 Caps|
|9||Jake Gordon||Scrumhalf||5 Caps|
|8||Harry Wilson||Backrow||6 Caps|
|7||Michael Hooper (c)||Openside Flanker||105 Caps|
|6||Rob Valetini||Blindside Flanker||4 Caps|
|5||Lukhan Salakaia-Loto||Lock||25 Caps|
|4||Matt Philip||Lock||9 Caps|
|3||Allan Alaalatoa||Tighthead Prop||43 Caps|
|2||Brandon Paenga-Amosa||Hooker||8 Caps|
|1||James Slipper||Loosehead Prop||100 Caps|
|16||Lachlan Lonergan||Replacement Hooker||Debut|
|17||Angus Bell||Replacement Prop||3 Caps|
|18||Taniela Tupou||Replacement Prop||25 Caps|
|19||Darcy Swain||Replacement Lock||Debut|
|20||Isi Naisarani||Replacement Backrow||8 Caps|
|21||Tate McDermott||Replacement Scrumhalf||2 Caps|
|22||Len Ikitau||Replacement Centre||Debut|
|23||Andrew Kellaway||Replacement Back||Debut|
The Wallabies will take on France for a three-test series before their attention turns to the Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby Championship later in the season.
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