Wallabies to use insider knowledge and muscle against France
Australia will run on to Stade de France for the first time since 2016 fresh off a gritty defeat of Scotland to begin a five-match European tour.
Victory on Sunday morning (AEDT) would be the Wallabies’ first back-to-back successes in more than a year.
And it would halt Les Bleus’ shot at history with Fabien Galthie’s side hunting a record 11th straight win since an understrength outfit lost to the Wallabies in Brisbane 16 months ago.
“It’s pretty well documented that we haven’t really been consistent this year so consistency is a big key for us,” Slipper said.
“We’ve prepared well, just like last week, so we’re trying to get better so hopefully we can put the French under a bit of pressure.
“When they’ve got their tails up they can really be hard to stop … the first 20 minutes wil l be telling.”
Tupou will start in the front row, with his captain replacing the concussed Allan Alaalatoa after impressing off the bench against Scotland.
The new father, whose Rugby Australia contract expires after next year’s World Cup, has battled injury this year and lacked his trademark punch.
“It’s been a tough year for Nela,” Slipper said.
“But I thought he actually came off the bench last week and really played well.
“He really looked fit and really wanted to be there, so for me as a captain and as a mate, it’s really great to see him playing really well.
“He’s an impact player, got a lot of X-factor and we just want Nela to go out there and play his natural game, not have any extra pressure on him.”
Skelton will play his first Test this year, the hulking second rower in his natural environment after winning this year’s European Championship with La Rochelle.
He has played 21 Tests but since being recalled under the revised Giteau Law is yet to show the devastating form th at’s launched hi m into the Top 14’s elite.
“He’s a good addition,” Slipper said.
“I’m sure he knows a lot of the French team on an individual note so it’s good to have him in there.
“He gives a lot of confidence to the forward pack with his size and his experience, and he’s just a good bloke to have around the squad so he adds a lot.”
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