Australia appointed 11 uncapped players in a squad of 38 players face France on Sunday led by a veteran Michael hooper, with the Sitaleki Timani lock earning a recall eight years after he last donned the jersey.
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The Wallabies will face the Blues in three tests starting in Sydney on July 7 before moving to Melbourne and Brisbane on July 13 and 17.
Coach Dave Rennie said the team, which are all based in Australia, have been chosen “Form and potential”.
“I know the whole group is really excited to get stuck and defend their case for a Wallaby shirt against France”, he said.
“Obviously the squad is a bit bigger than we normally would have, but we had to think about how we would handle the rigors of the series.”
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Flanker Hooper, a veteran of the 105 tests, has been reaffirmed as captain after returning from a stint with the Japanese team Toyota Verblitz.
“It’s a good balance between young and old”, he said, with people like James Slipper, James O’Connor, Scott Sio and Matt To’omua adding to the experience.
“There are a lot of opportunities out there and places to be won.”
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Among the 11 uncapped players are former Wallabies junior hooker Lachlan Lonergan, who has impressed the Brumbies this season, as well as Western Force hooker Feleti Kaitu’u and Melbourne Rebels back rower Rob Leota.
Lock Matt Philip is making a comeback after finishing with French club Pau, while Timani at 34 is the oldest.
He’s incredibly back in the game for the first time since he faced Scotland in 2013 after returning to Australia and the Western Force last year after a long stint in France with Montpellier and ASM Clermont.
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Among those missing were experienced pair, backrower Pete Samu and hooker Folau Fainga’a, and Queensland Reds skipper Liam Wright.
The Wallabies, dominated by Brumbies players, are entering the series after their shortcomings were brutally exposed by New Zealand teams in the trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition.
Hooper said lessons had to be learned after Australian teams won just two of the 25 games they have played.
“I think it would be stupid to forget some of the learning that our guys would have had”, he said.
“The next few weeks are going to be about trying to figure out how these (French) guys play, which by all reports is exceptional,” he said. he added.
France, who must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia, will be absent from captain Charles Ollivon, who tore a cruciate ligament in a Top 14 clash for Toulon this month.
Coach Fabien Galthie will also be without players taking part in the Top 14 final on June 25 for the tour opener due to quarantine rules in Australia.
The Wallabies won the last meeting between the two sides in November 2016.
Allan Alaalatoa, Tom Banks, Angus Bell, Filipo Daugunu, Pone Fa’amausili, Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu’u, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, Rob Leota, Noah Lolesio, Lachlan Lonergan, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Andy Muirhead, Isi Naisarani, James O’Connor, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachie Swinton, Sitaleki Timani, Matt To’omua, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Michael Wells, Nic White, Harry Wilson, Tom Wright
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This notice was published: 2021-06-13 07:57:36