Taniela Tupou to start for Wallabies in Second Test against France

· International
by Reds Media Unit

After a standout performance off the bench in Brisbane, Taniela Tupou has been elevated to the starting side for the Wallabies second eToro Test against France in Melbourne on Tuesday night.


The change in the front row is the only one made by Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, who has selected the same game day 23 for the first time in consecutive matches since taking the reins in 2020.

The damaging Tupou will combine with Queensland teammate Brandon Paenga-Amosa and 101-Test stalwart James Slipper in the front row, where a win will see the side retain the Trophée des Bicentenaires.

Returning Rebels lock Matt Philip will play at AAMI Park for the first time in over 12 months, partnering Lukhan Salakaia-Loto in the second row for the fifth time since Rennie took charge of the side.

After earning his first start in Wallaby gold last Wednesday night, Rob Valetini will again wear the number six jersey, with Michael Hooper to captain the side in the familiar openside flanker position.  Harry Wilson will wear the number eight jersey for the seventh consecutive Test.

Scrumhalf Jake Gordon and last weekend’s penalty kicking match-winner Noah Lolesio earn another chance to build on their halves partnership, with Melbourne born Matt To’omua and the Melbourne raised, Hunter Paisami set to combine in the midfield.

Marika Koroibete will be looking to celebrate the birth of his third son with a strong performance on the left wing on the familiar turf of AAMI Park, with the electric Tom Wright and reliable Tom Banks rounding out the starting side.

Following an impressive debut, Lachlan Lonergan has retained his place as the reserve hooker with youngster Angus Bell and the experienced Allan Alaalatoa the replacement props.

Darcy Swain was another who proved his impact on the International stage, retaining his spot as the finishing lock, alongside Isi Naisarani who will cover the backrow.

His effort to chase down the France lineout in the dying stages at Suncorp Stadium after the 80th minute proved to be the difference and the side will be looking for Tate McDermott to have the same impact off the pine in Melbourne as the reserve scrumhalf.

Len Ikitau is in line to become Wallaby no. 944 as the only potential debutant in the team, with Rebels flyer Andrew Kellaway earning his second opportunity for his country as the remaining back cover.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “Taniela made a real impact on both sides of the ball when he came on in at Suncorp Stadium and we’ll be looking for him to do the same from the get go in Melbourne.”

“We’ve worked hard and we’re well conditioned. A lack of accuracy in Brisbane denied us the opportunity to make the most of that, but we showed plenty of character to stay in the fight until the final whistle.

“We need to start fast, be more clinical and turn pressure into points at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.”

Tickets are on sale now via Ticketek for the 2021 eToro Test Series against France.

The Nine Network and Stan Sport will show every Wallabies Test match LIVE throughout 2021.

Wallabies team to play France at AAMI Park, Melbourne on Tuesday 13 July, 8:00pm AEST

1. James Slipper (101 Tests)
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (9 Tests)
3. Taniela Tupou (26 Tests)
4. Matt Philip (10 Tests)
5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (26 Tests)
6. Rob Valetini (5 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (106 Tests)
8. Harry Wilson (7 Tests)
9. Jake Gordon (6 Tests)
10. Noah Lolesio (3 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (33 Tests)
12. Matt To’omua (55 Tests)
13. Hunter Paisami (7 Tests)
14. Tom Wright (4 Tests)
15. Tom Banks (12 Tests)

16. Lachlan Lonergan (1 Test)
17. Angus Bell (4 Tests)
18. Allan Alaalatoa (44 Tests)
19. Darcy Swain (1 Test)
20. Isi Naisarani (9 Tests)
21. Tate McDermott (3 Tests)
22. Len Ikitau*
23. Andrew Kellaway (1 Test)

*denotes uncapped