France will aim to secure an historic Test series victory in Australia on Saturday as they take on the Wallabies in the third Test in Brisbane.
Les Bleus bounced back from their heart-breaking loss in the opening match of the series with a first win over the Wallabies on Australian soil in 31 years on Tuesday.
And now they will look to clinch the series back in Brisbane to record a first-ever series win on Australian soil.
It would be a remarkable achievement for Les Bleus, particularly when you consider that they travelled Down Under without the majority of their first-choice players because of a combination of injuries, rest and the absence of the Top 14 finalists.
In their absence, a number of players have staked a claim for bigger roles within Fabien Galthié’s side, and victory in the third Test would only strengthen those claims.
With three Tests in 11 days, and more importantly, a five-day turnaround, there were always going to be changes for both sides.
Yet Galthié and counterpart Dave Rennie have both shown faith in some of their key men, with France starting six players for the third Test in a row, while Australia have gone for even more continuity with eight players starting each Test of the series.
Fly-half Antoine Hastoy is the one uncapped player in the French starting XV, while centre Pierre-Louis Barassi and winger Teddy Thomas make their first appearances of the tour.
Anthony Jelonch will lead the side once again, joining Baptiste Couilloud, Arthur Vincent, Damian Penaud, Melvyn Jaminet and Gaëtan Barlot in starting every Test. After a standout display in the second Test, Cameron Woki starts once again in the back row.
There are two uncapped players on the bench, back-rower Alexandre Bécognée and centre Julien Hériteau.
For Australia, exciting scrum-half Tate McDermott gets his opportunity to start after coming off the bench in the first two matches, while Isi Naisarani is rewarded for some strong replacement showings after being named at No.8.
Le résumé de la victoire historique des Bleus hier en Australie est dispo sur notre chaîne YouTube afin de bien commencer la journée 😄
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) July 14, 2021
Ones to watch
In Gaël Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa, France already boast one of the top centre combinations in the world, but this tour has seen Arthur Vincent show just why he was thrust onto the highest scene as a 20-year-old.
The Montpellier centre shifts to inside centre for this one, but will again line up against Hunter Paisami, having largely nullified the threat of one of Australia’s main strike runners in the second Test where Vincent made 25 tackles.
He links up with Pierre-Louis Barassi, the Lyon centre who ended the season in flying form and will be looking to get the better of Wallaby newcomer Len Ikitau, who is making his first Test start.
What they said
France captain Anthony Jelonch said: “This squad is hungry for wins. So after the win in the second Test, everyone turned their attention to Saturday’s game and had the feeling that we could do something truly historic. Winning this series, that’s not happened for a long time in the southern hemisphere.
“The squad has one aim, to win this match. We will all be ready to produce a big performance this weekend, especially after what we’ve seen on social media: the support of the public, all the families following us, it warms your heart.”
Australia: 15. Tom Banks, 14. Filipo Daugunu, 13. Len Ikitau, 12. Hunter Paisami, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Noah Lolesio, 9. Tate McDermott, 1. James Slipper 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Isi Naisarani
Replacements: 16. Jordan Uelese, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Matt Philip, 20. Rob Valetini, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Matt To’omua, 23. Reece Hodge
France: 15. Melvyn Jaminet, 14. Damian Penaud, 13. Pierre-Louis Barassi, 12. Arthur Vincent, 11. Teddy Thomas, 10. Antoine Hastoy, 9. Baptiste Couilloud, 1. Enzo Forletta, 2. Gaëtan Barlot, 3. Sipili Falatea, 4. Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 5. Romain Taofifenua, 6. Dylan Cretin, 7. Cameron Woki, 8. Anthony Jelonch (c)
Replacements: 16. Anthony Etrillard, 17. Quentin Walcker, 18. Demba Bamba, 19. Baptiste Pesenti, 20. Alexandre Bécognée, 21. Teddy Iribaren, 22. Anthony Bouthier, 23. Julien Hériteau