Sunday 22 October 2017 / 09:08 PM

Wallabies name side for final French Test

The Wallabies have announced two changes to their starting line-up as they aim for a series whitewash over France in the third Test at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Giant NSW Waratahs lock Will Skelton has been named to make his international debut, while Wycliff Palu returns at No.8 after missing the second Test through injury. James Horwill and Ben McCalman slip back to the bench, while Luke Jones and Scott Higginbotham drop out of the reserves contingent.

ACT Brumbies prop Scott Sio and versatile Waratahs back Rob Horne have also been added to Australia’s bench, replacing Pek Cowan and Pat McCabe respectively. Jones, who made his debut last week, has been nominated as the squad’s 24th man.

Uncapped 22-year-old Skelton, a 2.03m and 140kg behemoth born in Auckland, has earned his maiden Wallabies call-up in just his second season of Super Rugby.

“I’ve been really impressed with his attitude and the contribution he’s made to this team since the beginning of the series.  He’s obviously got impressive metrics but he also has a big motor and is particularly skilful, so we’re looking forward to seeing how he will impose himself on the game,” Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said of Skelton.

“He’s worked really hard over the past 12 months at the Waratahs on improving his match conditioning and we believe he is ready for the step up to Test Rugby.”

After an emphatic 50-23 victory in the first Test in Brisbane, Australia was pushed all the way in a dour 6-0 win in Melbourne by a vastly improved France outfit last weekend. The Wallabies, with the Trophée des Bicentenairesalready wrapped up, will be eager to head into the Rugby Championship with a convincing 3-0 series result over ‘Les Bleus’ in their keeping.

 

France has not defeated Australia in Sydney since a 28-19 result at this weekend’s venue in 1990.

1. James Slipper (vc)

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Rob Simmons

5. Will Skelton*

6. Scott Fardy

7. Michael Hooper (c)

8. Wycliff Palu

9. Nic White

10. Bernard Foley

11. Nick Cummins

12. Matt Toomua

13. Tevita Kuridrani

14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc)

15. Israel Folau

16. Nathan Charles

17. Scott Sio

18. Laurie Weeks

19. James Horwill

20. Ben McCalman

21. Nick Phipps

22. Kurtley Beale

23. Rob Horne

*denotes uncapped player

Third Test: Wallabies v France, Saturday June 21, 3:00pm at Allianz Stadium, Sydney.

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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