Wallabies and France look to the future ahead of third Test

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·3-min read
Australia's Filipo Daugunu runs with the ball during a captain's run at the Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club Rugby Field in Gold Coast ahead of the third and decisive rugby union Test against France
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Australia and France will be looking to the future when they take to the field for the series-deciding third Test at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

While both teams will be desperate to claim the three-Test series, respective coaches Dave Rennie and Fabien Galthie will also have one eye on the 2023 World Cup to be played in France.

Australia clinched the first Test of the series on July 7 with a nail-biting 23-21 win after kicking an 83rd minute penalty, only for France to turn the tables with an equally close 28-26 triumph in Melbourne on Tuesday, their first win over the Wallabies on Australian soil since 1990.

While Galthie had little choice but to pick a young team with most of his usual starters remaining in France, Rennie has thrown the dice, making eight changes to his starting side for the third Test, including run-on debuts for scrumhalf Tate McDermott, lock Darcy Swain and outside centre Len Ikitau.

Rennie said the schedule of three Tests in just 10 days meant changes were necessary, but that each player deserved his place in the side.

"We always knew with the scheduling of the series against a tough French side that it would require a full squad effort, and we're going to see that on Saturday night," Rennie said.

"We were disappointed with the result in Melbourne and we'll be out to rectify that with more accuracy and composure in key moments at Suncorp Stadium.

"As always, we've picked a team that has earned the right to wear the gold jersey and we're confident they'll get the job done in Brisbane."

In the forward pack, Allan Alaalatoa comes back in at tighthead prop for Taniela Tupou, who returns to the bench, while the abrasive Lachlan Swinton starts at openside flanker with Isi Naisarani at number eight in place of Harry Wilson.

Filipo Daugunu has also been brought in to start on the right wing, while Hunter Paisami moves from outside centre to number 12 to allow Ikitau to start.

Galthie has made seven changes to the team that beat Australia in Melbourne.

After shuffling his pack for the second Test, the French coach switched four forwards for the third, with Clermont tighthead prop Sipili Falatea and Montpellier loosehead prop Enzo Forletta coming in.

They will line up alongside Toulon lock Romain Taofifenua and Lyon flanker Dylan Cretin.

Galthie also shook up the backs, with winger Teddy Thomas, France's most experienced player, getting the nod for the first time on tour.

Fly-half Antoine Hastoy and centre Pierre-Louis Barassi will also start.

"It's an unprecedented format (three tests in 10 days) which forced us to adapt," Galthie said when announcing the changes, adding that all players in the squad were in contention for the 2023 World Cup.

"Some won't have had the chance to wear the jersey but we made them understand that they were part of the project until the 2023 World Cup.

"Everything these players have been able to experience (on the tour) will be very important for their career."

Australia (15-1)

Tom Banks; Filipo Daugunu, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Marika Koroibete; Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott; Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper (captain), Lachlan Swinton, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Darcy Swain; Allan Alaalatoa, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Matt Philip, Rob Valetini, Jake Gordon, Matt To'omua, Reece Hodge

France (15-1)

Melvyn Jaminet; Damian Penaud, Pierre-Louis Barassi, Arthur Vincent, Teddy Thomas; Antoine Hastoy, Baptiste Couilloud; Anthony Jelonch (captain), Cameron Woki, Dylan Cretin, Romain Taofifenua, Cyril Cazeaux; Sipili Falatea, Gaetan Barlot, Enzo Forletta

Replacements: Anthony Etrillard, Quentin Walcker, Demba Bamba, Pierre-Henri Azagoh, Alexandre Becognee, Julien Heriteau

acd/axn

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