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France v Australia

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It’s tight at the top and the bottom of WXV1. Both Les Bleues and the Wallaroos will be hunting for every point they can scrape from this second-round clash.

The French approach is to give everyone a go, but to ensure they have two competent Fifteens, one to start and one to finish each game.

Hence the changes: Léa Champon comes in on the blind side, Suliana Sivi in place of Cyrielle Banet, Léa Champon for Axelle Berthounieu. Even Gabrielle Vernier is asked to take her turn at coming off the bench.

Of all the six nations at the top level France bring youth to the fore most strikingly. With Banet, Bourdon-Sansus and Vernier sitting out (again), the average age tumbles even lower than against the Black Ferns. 26 now looks like pensionable age. It’s further proof of the excellence of the French pathway system, where the various age-group squads consistently carry all before them.

The Wallaroos have had to replace Maya Stewart (injury) and Annabelle Codey (card). The changes offer Melanie Wilks the chance of a first cap.

Against England they bemoaned their failure to profit from promising positions. They had enough entries into the attacking 22 to reap more than their 7-point return, so efficiency will be the watchword. Their second challenge in a row grows not a whit easier.



1 Brianna Hoy (NSW Waratahs), 2 Tania Naden (ACT Brumbies), 3 Eva Karpani (NSW Waratahs), 4 Sera Naiqama (NSW Waratahs), 5 Michaela Leonard (captain, Western Force), 6 Siokapesi Palu (ACT Brumbies) 7 Emily Chancellor (Harlequins), 8 Kaitlan Leaney (Harlequins), 9 Layne Morgan (NSW Waratahs), 10 Carys Dallinger (Queensland Reds), 11 Ivania Wong (Queensland Reds), 12 Arabella McKenzie (Harlequins), 13 Georgina Friedrichs (NSW Waratahs), 14 Desiree Miller (NSW Waratahs), 15 Faitala Moleka (ACT Brumbies)

Bench: 16 Adiana Talakai (NSW Waratahs), 17 Bree-Anna Cheatham (Queensland Reds), 18 Emily Robinson (NSW Waratahs), 19 Atasi Lafai (NSW Waratahs), 20 Ashley Marsters (Melbourne Rebels), 21 Sarah Dougherty), 22 Cecilia Smith (Queensland Reds) 23 *Melanie Wilks


15 Morgane Bourgeois (Stade Bordelais), 14 *Suliana Sivi (Stade Rennais), 13 Marine Ménager (Montpellier HR), 12 Nassira Kondé (Stade Bordelais), 11 Émilie Boulard (Blagnac), 10 Lina Queyroi (Blagnac), 9 Alexandra Chambon (Grenoble Amazones), 1 Ambre Mwayembe (Grenoble Amazones), 2 Elisa Riffonneau (Trailfinders Women), 3 Clara Joyeux (Blagnac), 4 Manae Feleu (captain, Grenoble Amazones), 5 Madoussou Fall (Stade Bordelais), 6 Léa Champon, 7 Gaëlle Hermet (Stade Toulousain), 8 Charlotte Escudero (Stade Toulousain)

Bench: 16 Laure Touyé (Montpellier HR), 17 Coco Lindelauf (Blagnac), 18 Assia Khalfaoui (Stade Bordelais), 19 Kiara Zago (Stade Toulousain), 20 Emeline Gros (Grenoble Amazones), 21 Pauline Bourdon-Sansus (Stade Toulousain), 22 Clara Arbez (Stade Bordelais), 23 Gabrielle Vernier (Blagnac)

Match Details:

Saturday 28 October, Forsyth Barr Stadium Dunedin; KO 19.00 local time, 07.00 UK time