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Preview: Five France changes as Les Bleus prepare for second Wallabies Test

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Preview: Five France changes as Les Bleus prepare for second Wallabies Test

Fabien Galthié France

Fabien Galthié has made five changes to the starting XV as France look to bounce back from a bruising 23-21 defeat in their opening encounter against Australia.

France lost out to the Wallabies in the closing stages having led for much of the match and Galthié has made a swathe of changes to the forward pack.

Les Bleus are already without several regular members of the side who reached a second-place finish in the Guinness Six Nations for the second year in a row.

Galthié has been forced to pick a travelling squad without its usual experience as a result of injuries, resting players and Top 14 finalists being unavailable for selection due to travel and quarantine restrictions.

The visitors will be hoping to level the series in Melbourne on Tuesday and also record their first Test win in Australia since 1990.

TEAM NEWS

All five changes to the starting XV come in the forwards, with prop Wilfrid Hounkpatin and lock Pierre-Henri Azagoh coming straight into the matchday 23 to make their debuts for France, replacing Demba Bamba and Killian Geraci.

Captain Anthony Jelonch moves from openside flanker to No.8 as Cameron Woki comes in while Cyril Cazeaux is also promoted from the bench in place of Romain Taofifenua.

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Anthony Jelonch

The final French change sees Ibrahim Diallo enter the matchday squad at blindside flanker to replace the injured Dylan Cretin.

Australia make only one change to their side as Taniela Tupou is promoted from the replacements after putting pressure on Les Bleus in Saturday’s fixture when he came on, with Allan Alaalatoa dropping to the bench.

ONES TO WATCH

Galthié has hailed Pierre-Henry Azagoh as a “discovery”, with the 22-year-old making only six starts in last season’s Top 14.

As an unknown quantity, he is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Melvyn Jaminet keeps his place at full-back to make his second appearance for Les Bleus, with the head coach keeping the faith despite the late error in the opening Test defeat.

Jaminet will be hoping to make amends for that mistake and reward the trust Galthie has put in him and the rest of the backs.

WHAT THEY SAID

France head coach Fabien Galthié: “He [Azagoh] is a discovery, [he] plays in the shadows, he’s a worker, very active who shows a lot of intelligence and doesn’t play for himself. He can be another revelation on this tour.

“These seven players, to varying degrees, did all right. The important thing is that they feel confident. We decided not to change the half-backs. It’s part of the learning process. For a lot of rookie players, this is a time of accelerated learning.”

TEAMS

Australia: 15. Tom Banks, 14. Tom Wright, 13. Hunter Paisami, 12. Matt To’omua, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Noah Lolesio, 9. Jake Gordon, 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,

Replacements: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Allan Alaalatoa, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Isi Naisarani, 21. Tate McDermott, 22. Lek Ikitau, 23. Andrew Kellaway

France: 15. Melvyn Jaminet, 14. Damian Penaud, 13. Arthur Vincent, 12. Jonathan Danty, 11. Gabin Villière, 10. Louis Carbonel, 9. Baptiste Couilloud, 1. Jean-Baptiste Gros, 2. Gaetan Barlot, 3. Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 4. Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 5. Cyril Cazeaux, 6. Ibrahim Diallo, 7. Cameron Woki, 8. Anthony Jelonch (c)

Replacements: 16. Anthony Etrillard, 17. Enzo Forletta, 18. Demba Bamba, 19. Killian Geraci, 20. Romain Taofifenua, 21. Sekou Macalou, 22. Teddy Iribaren, 23. Anthony Bouthier