McDermott in at No 9 as Wallabies makes eight changes
Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has made mass changes to his starting team for Saturday’s series-deciding third test against France in Brisbane.
Livewire attacking halfback Tate McDermott, centre Len Ikitau and lock Darcy Swain all get their first starting roles for Australia while hard-hitting backrower Lachie Swinton goes straight in at blindside flanker for his first test of the year.
Rennie has made seven personnel changes and one positional switch to his starting side amid another short turnaround, with the third test coming just four days after France beat the Wallabies 28-26 in Melbourne to level the series.
Some Wallabies fans will be disappointed to see prop Taniela Tupou relegated to a bench role after another powerhouse performance when promoted to start at AAMI Park, with Allan Alaalatoa returning to the starting role.
However, Tupou did much to turn the first test in Australia’s favour with his scrummaging and ball-running when introduced during the second half in Brisbane last week.
Swain will partner Lukhan Salakaia-Loto in the second row while Isi Naisarani will start at No 8 for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final, combining with skipper Michael Hooper and Swinton in a new-look backrow as Rob Valetini is benched.
McDermott partners sharp-shooting goalkicker Noah Lolesio in the halves, with Brumbies youngster Lolesio getting a third straight start as playmaker as veteran James O’Connor remains unavailable through injury.
Ikitau combines with Hunter Paisami in a hard-running midfield combination, with Paisami moving to inside centre as versatile veteran Matt To’omua drops to the bench.
Filipo Daugunu replaces an out-of-sorts Tom Wright on one wing with arguably the Wallabies man of the series so far, Marika Koroibete, on the opposite edge. Tom Banks retains the fullback role after a promising performance.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 15, 2021
After back-to-back starts, hard-working lock Matt Philip goes to the bench to make way for Swain.
“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,” said Rennie. “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.”
Wallabies team to play France at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Saturday 17 July, (kick off 8:00pm AEST):
1. James Slipper (102 tests)
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (11 tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (45 tests)
4. Darcy Swain (2 tests)
5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (27 tests)
6. Lachlan Swinton (1 test)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (107 tests)
8. Isi Naisarani (10 tests)
9. Tate McDermott (4 tests)
10. Noah Lolesio (4 tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (36 tests)
12. Hunter Paisami (8 tests)
13. Len Ikitau (1 test)
14. Filipo Daugunu (5 tests)
15. Tom Banks (13 tests)
16. Jordan Uelese (12 tests)
17. Angus Bell (5 tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (27 tests)
19. Matt Philip (11 tests)
20. Rob Valetini (6 tests)
21. Jake Gordon (7 tests)
22. Matt To’omua (56 tests)
23. Reece Hodge (45 tests)
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