France coach Fabien Galthie hasn’t so much shuffled his pack but completely revamped it in making five changes for the second Test against Australia in Melbourne on Tuesday night.
Galthie’s backline remains the same from the heartbreaking 23-21 loss to the Wallabies in the first Test in Brisbane – leaving a second-string France in must-win mode to keep their series victory hopes alive.
Stade Francais lock Pierre-Henri Azagoh and Castres prop Wilfrid Hounkpatin have been named to make their Test debuts for Les Bleus, with Galthie talking up the potential of the former in particular.
“He is a discovery,” Galthie said of the 22-year-old second rower.
“Plays in the shadows, he’s a worker, very active who shows a lot of intelligence and doesn’t play for himself.
“He can be another revelation on this tour.”
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Azagoh will form a brand-new lock pairing with Bordeaux’s Cyril Cazeaux as Romain Taofifenua and Killian Geraci drop to a powerful bench that again features six forwards.
Castres prop Wilfrid Hounkpatin comes in for Demba Bamba while Galthie has also revamped his back-row.
Captain Anthony Jelonch moves from openside flanker to No.8 with Cameron Woki starting at No.7 and Ibrahim Diallo on the blindside.
Galthie explained why he kept the backline intact, including new fullback Melvyn Jaminet whose panicked pass under pressure allowed the Wallabies to regain possession after the siren.
“These seven players, to varying degrees, did all right,” Galthie said.
“The important thing is that they feel confident.
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“We decided not to change the halfbacks (No 9 and 10). It’s part of the learning process.
“For a lot of rookie players this is a time of accelerated learning.”
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie made just one change with prop Taniela Tupou coming in for Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead.
FRANCE (15-1): Melvyn Jaminet, Damian Penaud, Arthur Vincent, Jonathan Danty, Gabin Villiere, Louis Carbonel, Baptiste Couilloud, Anthony Jelonch (c), Cameron Woki, Ibrahim Diallo, Cyril Cazeaux, Pierre-Henri Azagoh, Wilfrid Hounkpatin, Gaetan Barlot, Jean-Baptiste Gros
Reserves: Anthony Etrillard, Enzo Forletta, Demba Bamba, Killian Geraci, Romain Taofifenua, Sekou Macalou, Teddy Iribaren, Anthony Bouthier
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