Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
The Wallabies host France at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane for the first of three Test matches in the space of ten days. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 8pm (AEST).
The Wallabies start the match as favourites despite being behind France in the World Rugby Rankings.
To be fair, there’s not much recent form to go off.
In that very odd season of 2020, the Wallabies beat New Zealand, lost twice to New Zealand, and drew with New Zealand.
They also drew twice with Argentina, who beat New Zealand.
France, of course, has apparently sent over a ‘third string’ squad that’s spent two weeks in a biosecurity bubble in north-west Sydney before travelling to Brisbane in masks.
They’re on a tour of Australia but culturally could be anywhere. It’d be like hanging out at Singapore Airport for two weeks then playing a game of rugby!
How will they play?
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie told the excellent Paul Cully in The Sydney Morning Herald that France will have a defensive focus and kick his team the ball because of former Wigan rugby league man, Shaun Edwards.
“What we’ve seen with Shaun going there is a massive defensive focus. But they’re kicking the ball a lot more too,” Rennie said.
“When he was with Wales, if they’ve gone two or three phases and haven’t got what they want, they’ll kick because overplaying and turning over ball when your defence isn’t organised …you can get punished.
“But what that does is provide us with opportunities, because they are going to give us a lot of ball.
“We treat counterattack as a set-piece. We’ve got a lot of structure around that and it’s going to be important. They’re going to kick a lot of ball to us.”
Eyes will be upon Australia’s halves pairing of Jake Gordon – who was injured in the first Super Rugby game of the year – and Noah Lolesio who is yet to fully convert from talented tyke to Test regular. One assumes France’s backrowers will be quick to test his suitability at this level.
It’s a highly anticipated series for a couple of reasons:
a) it’s been a while since we’ve since Test rugby in Australia; And b) we don’t know what is going to happen.
So strap yourselves in for what should be a fascinating contest.
Kick-off: 8pm (AEST)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Officials: Referee: Brendon Pickerill (NZ), Assistants: Nic Berry (AUS), Damon Murphy (AUS), TMO: James Doleman (NZ)
TV: Channel Nine
Online: 9Now, Stan Sports
Odds: Wallabies $1.26, France $3.90 (odds via PlayUp)
1. James Slipper, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Matt Philip, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Jake Gordon, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Matt To’omua, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Tom Wright, 15. Tom Banks
Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway
1. Jean-Baptiste Gros, 2. Gaetan Barlot, 3. Demba Bamba, 4. Killian Geraci, 5. Romain Taofifenua, 6. Dylan Cretin, 7. Anthony Jelonch (c), 8. Sekou Macalou, 9. Baptise Couilloud, 10. Louis Carbonel, 11. Gabin Villiere, 12. Jonathan Danty, 13. Arthur Vincent, 14. Damian Penaud, 15. Melvyn Jaminet.
Reserves: Anthony Etrillard, Quentin Walcker, Sipili Falatea, Florent Vanverberghe, Baptiste Pesenti, Cameron Woki, Teddy Iribaren, Anthony Bouthie