Preview: Wallabies cruise past France at Suncorp
July 5, 2008

Lachlan Turner will make his Test debut against France in the second international in Brisbane on Saturday night after Wallabies coach Robbie Deans made four changes to the side that defeated the tourists last weekend in Sydney.

Turner, the 21-year-old wing, takes over from injured Lote Tuqiri while Stephen Hoiles comes in for Wycliff Palu, another casualty from last Saturday's 34-13 first Test win. Full back Adam Ashley-Cooper and flanker Phil Waugh also get Deans's vote of confidence ahead of Cameron Shepherd and George Smith.

While Tuqiri (knee) and Palu (neck soreness) have both been ruled out because of the injuries they sustained at ANZ Stadium, Shepherd and Smith drop to a place among the replacements.

Deans said that the decision to sideline Tuqiri and Palu was a straight-forward one even though both had been given time to recover from the injuries they sustained last weekend before the call was eventually made.

"Initially the outlook was fairly promising on both of them," Deans said. "But, in the end, we've decided that it's not worth risking further aggravation of their current situations by playing them when they're not quite right."

Deans said that both players were still feeling some discomfort, and would benefit from a few more days of recovery time.

"With Lote's history, in terms of the knee injury he's had previously, we felt it was best to let the joint settle right down, hence the reason for making the call to pull him out now, rather than delaying until later in the week," Deans said.

"Even though the scans we've had done on Cliffy have been clear in terms of any structural damage, he too was still struggling a little bit."

Turner gets his chance to test himself at international level just 15 months after he debuted for the Waratahs in the Super 14.

Like Turner, Hollies has also impressed the new Wallabies coach by showing strong form for Australia A in the Pacific Nations Cup, scoring four tries against Tonga two weeks ago, and a try against Fiji at Ballymore last Sunday.

Deans is confident that Turner is ready to take a maiden Test match bow after his recent work load for Australia A.

"Lachie has been playing well for Australia A and working hard off the field when he has trained with us. We see this as a good opportunity to get his Test career underway," Deans said.

There are three other personnel changes to the starting line-up - the elevations of Ashley-Cooper to full back and Waugh to the openside flank - reflect a desire to give both players further game time, after they performed well from the bench last weekend.

Lock Nathan Sharpe was ruled out of the clash late in the week with a groin strain having been in line to face France once again.

Dean Mumm is promoted from the bench to replace him with the Reds' Hugh McMeniman drafted into the replacements.

Ashley-Cooper won his 13th cap in the first Test after he replaced Tuqiri in the 31st minute. While more regularly known as a winger, the 24-year-old is equally capable operating from full back.

This versatility is something that Deans is keen to develop, as it strengthens the overall balance of the Wallabies squad.

Waugh has provided impact coming off the bench in both of the Tests that the Wallabies have played so far this season. Last week, he played the second half after replacing the injured Palu.

This weekend provides his first start of the international campaign, with Smith coming off the bench.

"In both of these instances, the selection doesn't reflect a dis-satisfaction at all with what Cameron [Shepherd] and George [Smith] have contributed," Deans said.

"It is more a case of taking this opportunity to give two other players game time in our environment, as opposed to sending them elsewhere."

The 24-year-old Mumm, who can operate in either the second row or on the blindside flank, made his Test debut last month against Ireland.

His combination with Queenslander James Horwill means the Wallabies will boast a combined total of five Test caps in their second row for the second Test.

"The loss of Nathan obviously tests our depth, in terms of the Test experience our two locks have, but we've got total confidence in the guys who are there," Deans says.

"They've done the work on the training paddock and competed well in their Test careers so far. There's a great opportunity ahead for both of them!"

Twenty-four-year-old McMeniman joins the Qantas Wallabies after returning from injury during the Australia A program in the recent wins over Tonga and Fiji.

While not a member of the 30-man squad that was named for the first stage of the Bundaberg Rum Rugby Series, McMeniman has appeared in 12 Tests for Australia since debuting against Samoa in 2005.

His most recent cap was earned against England at last year's Rugby World Cup.

France coach Marc Lièvremont has made wholesale changes to his team for the Test against the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane this Saturday night.

The 39-year-old has shown his ruthless side, making in all 10 changes to the Les Bleus starting XV that lost 34-13 in Sydney last week, seven in personnel and three positional.

Only five players start in the same positions as the First Test: Brive winger Alexis Palisson, impressive in Sydney, Montpellier loose forward Fulgence Ouedraogo, the two Sebastiens from Sale Sharks - lock Chabal and hooker Bruno and the captain from Castres Olympique, lock Lionel Nallet.

Of the omissions perhaps most notable is experienced international centre Damien Traille who is gone from the 22 altogether with Lièvremont opting to blood young Toulouse centre Maxime Mermoz.

The others to drop out of the starting line up are: fullback Pepito Elhorga, who went off last week after a heavy tackle from Rocky Elsom and Wycliff Palu, Bourgoin-Jallieu flyhalf Benjamin Boyet, Biarritz scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvili, Montpellier No.8 Louis Picamoles, Biarritz prop Benoit Lecouls and Sale Sharks prop Lionel Faure, who is also injured.

Coming into the starting XV along with Mermoz are: Thibault Lacroix from Albi, who will play inside centre, Bourgoin-Jallieu wing David Janin, Castres-Olympique scrumhalf Sebastien Tillous-Bordes, Dax flanker (and younger brother of the coach) Matthieu Lievremont, prop Renaud Boyoud, also from Dax, and at tighthead Albi's Pierre Correia.

Of the seven coming in to the starting side only Mermoz and Correia were not on the bench in Sydney.

In terms of positional switches Montpellier flyhalf François Trinh-Duc, a surprise selection at outside centre last week, shifts in to his usual position for the axed Boyet, Biarritz winger Benjamin Thiery moves to fullback for the injured Elhorga and Biarritz No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy also reverts to his usual position from flanker.

There are also multiple changes on the bench where only Leicester Tigers hooker Benjamin Kayser.

Dropping to the reserves from last week's starting team are Lecouls, Picamoles and Yachvili while coming in from outside the squad are Montauban flanker Yannick Caballero and Bayonne winger (and candidate for longest name in Test Rugby) Jean-Baptiste Peyras-Loustalet.

David Couzinet was a late withdrawal with a calf strain and he is replaced on the bench by flyhalf Benjamin Boyet, who was dropped from the 22 after the Test in Sydney last weekend.

Lievremont had seemed that he would keep faith with the line-up that lost heavily at the ANZ Stadium. But a few days later he admitted both the staff and the players must take their share and decided to shake up the line-up for this weekend's clash.

"It seemed to me that we didn't do everything we set out to do," said the former international. "We lost almost every ball on the ground, we only played in front of their defence and we often ran the ball into touch without looking dangerous.

"We [the coaching staff] also have to take responsibility as we said that from slow ball, we needed to use a pressure kicking game.

"The problem was that every ball was slow and the only ones we were able to exploit were wasted straightaway by our poor kicking game.

"So even if we were brave for a long time, it was inevitable we were going to crack.

"There are two injuries [Elhorga and Faure] but as well as that I have decided to make changes so we can bring some physical freshness into the squad. Also, we will be more tactical."

Whether that will be enough to match Robbie Deans' improving Wallabies in their last hit-out before the Tri-Nations, remains to be seen.

Australia: Adam Ashley-Cooper (ACT Brumbies); Peter Hynes (Queensland Reds), Stirling Mortlock (captain, ACT Brumbies) Berrick Barnes (Queensland Reds), Lachlan Turner (NSW Waratahs); Matt Giteau (Western Force), Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs); Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Moore (Queensland Reds), Al Baxter (NSW Waratahs), James Horwill (Queensland Reds), Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs), Rocky Elsom (NSW Waratahs), Phil Waugh (NSW Waratahs), Stephen Hoiles (ACT Brumbies).

Replacements: Adam Freier (NSW Waratahs), Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies), Hugh McMeniman (Queensland Reds), George Smith (ACT Brumbies), Sam Cordingley (Queensland Reds), Ryan Cross (Western Force), Cameron Shepherd (Western Force).

France: Benjamin Thiery (Biarritz), Alexis Palisson (Brive), Maxime Mermoz (Toulouse), Thibault Lacroix (Albi), David Janin (Bourgoin-Jallieu), Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Sebastian Tillous-Borde (Castres-Olympique), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Matthieu Lievremont (Dax), Lionel Nallet (Castres Olympique) (captain), Sebastien Chabal (Sale Sharks, UK), Renaud Boyoud (Dax), Sebastien Bruno (Sale Sharks, UK), Pierre Correia (Albi).

Replacements: Benjamin Kayser (Leicester Tigers, UK), Benoit Lecouls Biarritz), David Couzinet Biarritz), Louis Picamoles (Montpellier), Yannick Caballero (Montauban), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz), Jean-Baptiste Peyras-Loustalet (Bayonne).

Referee: P. Honiss (NZ)
Touch judges: M. Jonker, C. Pollock
TMO: K. Deaker

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