Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
After a lucky – to understate it – win on Wednesday night, the Wallabies have a series to clinch when they take on France in Melbourne. Join The Roar, where we’ll have live scores and a blog from 8pm (AEST).
What can you say about Game 1?
The Wallabies survived it, is the main thing, after some chaotic ball handling on the part of the French in the dying seconds. France played well given they exited hotel quarantine just a day before. Make no mistake, with six days of training under their belts, they’ll be a lot stronger.
The Wallabies have made changes, as expected. Taniela Tupou – originally snubbed for a starting role by Dave Rennie – is now named in the run-on side, where he’ll begin at tighthead. Michael Ala’alatoa moves to the bench. That’s the only change, which is a clear leap of faith from Rennie. He would’ve been under pressure to axe the halves in particular, with Jake Gordon having a less than perfect game, and Noah Lolesio’s decision-making at times questioned.
France have made five changes, all of them to the pack which had a mixed bag of results in game one. Interestingly not one back paid the price for the hot potato football play at the end of the game which ultimately squandered it to Australia. Pierre-Henri Azagoh is the most controversial – or brave – of the changes. The man played just six Top 14 games last year so this would be a way to prove himself.
Castres prop Wilfrid Hounkpatin starts at tighthead, although on the other side of the scrum to Tupou, whose scrummaging (while effective) is questioned in terms of legality.
Cameron Woki and Ibrahim Diallo slot into the back row as well.
A large part of this game, if not the entire result, lies on the scrums. As mentioned, if Tupou achieves the dominance he managed in the last 20 minutes on Wednesday, and keeps it up for 60 or so, France will be flat out trying to stay in the contest. But they’ll be better. Expect them to put proper pressure on both halves for Australia, after Gordon wasn’t up to scratch especially early on.
Les Bleus will be stronger than a week ago. Sure, without a number of their stars, including Antoine Dupont, there’s only so much firepower you can bring. But a handful of training sessions will have been invaluable.
Melvyn Jaminet vs Tom Banks will be a fascinating matchup – both players with a lot to prove after last week. But keep your eye on the backrow, which always plays a huge role in games involving Michael Hooper.
France by 8
Join The Roar for live scores, and a blog from 8pm.
Kick-off: 8pm (AEST)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Officials: Referee: James Doleman (NZ), Assistants: Nic Berry (AUS), Damon Murphy (AUS), TMO: Brendon Pickerill (NZ)
TV: Channel Nine
Online: 9Now, Stan Sport
Odds: Wallabies $1.29, France $3.60 (odds via PlayUp)
1. James Slipper, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 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, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway
1. Jean-Baptise Gros, 2. Gaetan Barlot, 3. Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 4. Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 5. Cyril Cazeaux, 6. Ibrahim Diallo, 7. Cameron Woki, 8. Anthony Jelonch (c), 9. Baptise Couilloud, 10. Louis Carbonel, 11. Gabin Villiere, 12. Jonathan Danty, 13. Arthur Vincent, 14. Damian Penaud, 15. Melvyn Jaminet
Reserves: Anthony Etrillard, Enzo Forletta, Demba Bamba, Killian Geraci, Romain Taofifenua, Sekou Macalou, Teddy Iribaren, Anthony Bouthier