Horwill back in Wallabies starting pack vs France
SYDNEY (AP) — Ex-skipper James Horwill has been recalled to Australia’s starting pack to face France on Saturday in the only change to the Wallabies lineup that opened its European test campaign with a 33-28 win over Wales at Cardiff.
Horwill will replace Sam Carter in the second row, where he will partner Queensland Reds teammate Rob Simmons. Horwill, who led the Wallabies at the 2011 World Cup and again in 2013, has been relegated to Australia’s reserves for most of the last season.
Sekope Kepu was selected to start his 50th test, and is set to become just the sixth Australian prop to achieve that milestone.
Michael Cheika, who replaced Ewen McKenzie as Wallabies coach immediately before the tour, has delayed naming his reserves for the test at the Stade de France.
The Wallabies had a 3-0 series win over the French in Australia in June, but Cheika expects a much more difficult assignment in Paris.
“The French have a completely different mindset when they are playing at home, as well as some exciting new players in their squad, and we are under no illusions as to the intensity they are going to bring to the game,” he said. “For us, it is still early days and we are getting used to a new system in attack and defense. I was happy with the first steps we took against Wales.”
The Wallabies opened the tour with a 40-36 win over the Barbarians in London, Cheika’s first match in charge of the national team, and followed up with a close win over the Welsh. The tour will close with tests in Ireland and England. Australia has been grouped with Wales and host England in the 2015 World Cup.
France prepared for the test with a 40-15 win over Fiji at Marseille.
Australia lineup: Australia: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevenia Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps; Ben McCalman, Michael Hooper (captain), Sean McMahon, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Sekope Kepu, Saia Fainga’a, James Slipper.