Rugby: Series win could be Aussies' Cup omen

By Darren Walton

The significance of seven straight test wins is not lost on the team, says Wallabies lock Rob Simmons.Photo / Getty Images
The significance of seven straight test wins is not lost on the team, says Wallabies lock Rob Simmons.Photo / Getty Images

The Wallabies have double the incentive to complete their first 3-0 clean sweep of the French in Saturday's dead-rubber test at Allianz Stadium.

Apart from eyeing a small slice of history, the Wallabies are chasing a seventh straight test win for the first time since 1999/2000 and lock Rob Simmons says the significance of such a feat hasn't gone unnoticed.

"The last Wallabies team to do that won a World Cup," said Simmons.

"So if we can get seven in a row, it puts us in good stead going forward.

"It's a good way to finish the series because we've got a little break from the squad and, if we do get a win, it'll be good to come back on a positive note before playing the All Blacks."

Set for his first Wallabies appearance under second-year coach Ewen McKenzie, reserve back Rob Horne said carrying winning momentum into the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener in Sydney on August 16 was vital.

"Even though we've already won the series, it doesn't mean anything if we go out there on Saturday and not play well," Horne said.

"So those interim goals are key. It's a week-to-week prospect in rugby, so those things keeps everyone focused and ready to go."

France and Australia have only contested one three-test series previously, when McKenzie featured as a player in the Wallabies' 2-1 victory on home soil in 1990.

On that occasion, Les Bleus avoided a series whitewash by winning the final test in Sydney 28-19.

Coach Philippe Saint Andre yesterday made two changes to the starting side that lost the second test in Melbourne 6-0 last Saturday.

Saint Andre recalled first-test fullback Hugo Bonneval to replace Maxime Medard on the wing for Saturday's series finale in Sydney, while Fulgence Ouedraogo comes into a reshuffled back row.

Ouedraogo will start at openside flanker, forcing French captain Thierry Dusautoir to the blindside.

Yannick Nyanga has been relegated to the bench.


Australia v France: Allianz Stadium, 4.30pm Saturday
Australia
15 Israel Folau
14 A Ashley-Cooper
13 Tevita Kuridrani
12 Matt Toomua
11 Nick Cummins
10 Bernard Foley
9 Nic White
8 Wycliff Palu
7 Michael Hooper (c)
6 Scott Fardy
5 Will Skelton
4 Rob Simmons
3 Sekope Kepu
2 Tatafu Polota-Nau
1 James Slipper

France
15 Brice Dulin
14 Yoann Huget
13 M Bastareaud
12 Wesley Fofana
11 Hugo Bonneval
10 Remi Tales
9 Morgan Parra
8 Damien Chouly
7 F Ouedraogo
6 T Dusautoir (c)
5 Yoann Maestri
4 A Flanquart
3 Rabah Slimani
2 Guilhem Guirado
1Alexandre Menini

Reserves:
Australia: Nathan Charles, Scott Sio, Laurie Weeks, James Horwill, Ben McCalman, Nick Phipps, Kurtley Beale, Rob Horne.

France: Christopher Tolofua, Vincent Debaty, Nicolas Mas, Bernard Le Roux, Louis Picamoles, Yannick Nyanga, Maxime Machenaud, Remi Lamerat.

-AAP

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