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Live Test rugby: Wallabies out to seal series against France in second Test
Welcome to live coverage of the Wallabies’ second Test against France in Melbourne. Follow all the action in our blog below
The Wallabies scraped home in Brisbane, now they have the chance to seal some precious silverware.
If they do so, it will be the first time they’ve won a three-match Test series since beating Les Bleus 3-0 at home in 2014.
Since then, the Wallabies have lost 3-0 to England (2016) and 2-1 to Ireland (2018) to leave them chasing their tails ahead of the Bledisloe campaigns.
What TV channel is Australia v France on? What about live streaming?
The match will be televised on Sky Sports Action, with coverage starting at 10.55am.
Viewers will be able to stream the match on the Sky Go app.
AUSTRALIA XV: Tom Banks; Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete; Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon; Harry Wilson, Michael Hooper (captain), Rob Valetini; Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Matt Phillip; Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper.
Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway.
FRANCE XV: Melvyn Jaminet; Damian Penaud, Arthur Vincent, Jonathan Danty, Gabin Villiere; Louis Carbonel, Baptiste Couilloud; Anthony Jelonch (captain), Cameron Woki, Ibrahim Diallo, Cyril Cazeaux, Pierre-Henri Azagoh, Wilfrid Hounkpatin, Gaetan Barlot, Jean-Baptiste Gros.
Replacements: Anthony Etrillard, Enzo Forletta, Demba Bamba, Killian Geraci, Romain Taofifenua, Sekou Macalou, Teddy Iribaren, Anthony Bouthier.
Australia head coach Dave Rennie: “We’ve worked hard and we’re well conditioned. A lack of accuracy in Brisbane denied us the opportunity to make the most of that, but we showed plenty of character to stay in the fight until the final whistle.
“We need to start fast, be more clinical and turn pressure into points at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.”
If Australia wins this series, it must be viewed as a really good result. We can’t view it through the lens of it being won against a “B” team. France has such a wealth of talent. They are a genuine world-class top-five outfit, no matter who they put in the team.
Australia has five professional Super Rugby teams, even if some are in need of some vast improvement. Beyond the Top 14, France’s premier competition, the country has another 16 professional teams in the Rugby Pro D2. In total, that’s 30 fully professional teams to choose from.
I played in all three French divisions during my career, firstly for Toulon, then Racing 92 and then for third division side Beziers. Even in third division (Federale 1), which is nominally amateur, players from a pool of roughly 50 teams get paid to play.
It’s an extremely tough competition and there is an absolute glut of physical talent throughout France.
Imagine if Australia had 30 professional rugby teams to pluck players from – more than one per player for a match day squad of 23.
There has been a calculated push to improve the quality of France’s depth, which was evident when they nearly beat England in the Six Nations with a second-string side.
When I was there from 2007 to 2013, I always felt there was so much wasted talent, but they are clearly managing that better now.
I think the Wallabies will be better for Wednesday night’s hit-out. They’ll throw everything into this game and France are disadvantaged being away from home.
Yes, they’re out of quarantine, but they may have been suffering a hangover effect being so far from hoThen again, if any team in the world is able to turn things around and produce a performance that is completely at odds with their preparation and form, it is France.
In regards to Wallabies No.10 Noah Lolesio, the first Test was a really tough game to be a playmaker because Australia struggled to get consistent go-forward. France were very good at slowing down the ball. Most of the time it was legitimate but as we know, all teams profit at times from pushing the limits.
My message to Lolesio would be to keep playing your game and vary your kicks. The judicious use of attacking kicks will be important for the Wallabies, particularly in behind the line to stop France rushing up quickly.
At the same time, you don’t want to kick away too much ball.
Australia need to be more accurate with their cleanouts because giving Lolesio static ball is such a waste for a young playmaker.
Selection-wise, the Wallabies will be tempted to pick their best XV, despite the short six-day turnaround, and wrap up the series before going back to Brisbane.
I’d like to see this too because the 9-10-12-13 combination of Jake Gordon, Lolesio, Matt To’omua and Hunter Paisami really needs time to gel. You can’t expect them to be firing in the heat of battle straight away.
Taniela Tupou has been given another chance to prove he can be as effective at the get-go than at the death, with the gigantic prop promoted by Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.
Tupou is the only change to the matchday 23 to take on France in Melbourne in the second Test on Tuesday from the one that scraped home 23-21 on Wednesday, with Rennie dropping Allan Alaalatoa to the bench.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Rennie said he picked what he thought was the best available squad for the opening Test and that has not changed – despite acknowledging the shortcomings of their great escape.
“We lacked accuracy, we gave up soft points early and we think there’s more in this group and we want to give them another crack,” Rennie said.
“We thought it was the right group to pick last time. We fell short of our expectation because of a lack of accuracy and it meant we couldn’t get continuity. We would go two phases, turn it over.
“We’ve had a good few days training and we’re confident we’ll be sharper this time.”
The decision to keep the same 23 will please many who believe Michael Cheika’s Wallabies suffered because of the continual chopping and changing.