Rugby Union

France ring the changes for Wallabies Test

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France coach Guy Noves has made five changes to his starting XV ahead of his side's clash with Australia on Saturday night. 

Fijian-born Clermont wingers Noa Nakaitaci and Virimi Vakatawa have both earned inclusion in the line-up, with the latter to make his test debut.

Another Clermont man Wesley Fofana will again start at inside centre alongside Remi Lamerat, after the duo impressed last time out. 


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The Fijian pair on the wings are not the only foreign-born players in the starting XV, however, as South African Scott Spedding is set to start at full-back. 

Elsewhere, Jean-Marc Doussain replaces Francois Trinh-Duc at fly-half after the Toulon man suffered a series ending injury against Samoa. 

In the back row,  Loann Goujon is out injured and his place is taken by Toulon's Charles Ollivon. Meanwhile, second rower Sebastien Vahaamahina replaces Julien Le Devedec, and prop Cyril Baille will make his first international start in place of another injured man, Jefferson Poirot.

Les Bleus will require a strong defensive performance against an exciting and new look Wallaby backline that includes Kyle Godwin for the first time and star of the Barbarians draw with South Africa a fortnight ago Taqele Naiyaravoro waiting on the bench.

The French won the last outing between the sides 29-26 back in 2014, but have a poor overall record against Australia who have won 17 of their 22 meetings. 

Noves expects a much stiffer test for his inexperienced side, and said: "We suffered for the first 4-5 minutes against Samoa but we must know that it's going to be the case for 80 minutes against Australia.

"So defence will be very important. We haven't seen many weak points in their team. They are impressive in the way they keep the ball."

The Wallabies, as mentioned, have also rung the changes with 11 different faces in the starting XV from their narrow win over Scotland last weekend.

The uncapped Godwin will start at 12, Luke Morahan comes in at full-back, Sefanaia Naivalu takes his place on the wing, and Quade Cooper earns a recall at fly-half. 

Changes in the forward include the returns of Sean McMahon and Scott Fardy in the back row and Kane Douglas pairing with Rob Simmons make up the second row.

Watch France vs Australia LIVE this Saturday 19th November. Head over to our Facebook page at 8:00pm for the live stream.

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