Sport

Kepu and Douglas in call-up for Wallabies French test

THE Wallabies have promoted Waratahs duo Sekope Kepu and Kane Douglas into the starting line-up as they shoot for a record-equalling sixth consecutive win against the French in Paris.

The pair are the only changes to the starting XV for the clash on Sunday morning (Australian time), with Rob Simmons joining the bench in place of the injured Sitaleki Timani, and Berrick Barnes replacing Drew Mitchell.

With new trial rules in place for Test matches on the Spring Tour, squads have been enlarged to 23 players to cater for the inclusion of two prop forwards on the bench.

That will see James Slipper and Paddy Ryan get the chance to play at the Stade de France, with Ryan set to become the 13th newly-capped Wallaby for the year from 12 Test matches if he is required to take the field.

The Wallabies' backline has been decimated by injuries over the past few months, but utility Adam Ashley-Cooper said despite the raft of changes, the group was on its way to becoming a formidable unit.

Ashley-Cooper has played right across the backline as injuries to Kurtley Beale, Will Genia, Quade Cooper and Pat McCabe among others, have taken their toll on Robbie Deans' squad.

"It was disruptive at first," the 28-year-old said of all the injuries.

"You cannot build a combination if injuries are occuring all the time. We have had a lot of changes but I think now we are starting to gel."

Ashley-Cooper has good memories of playing at the Stade De France.

The Waratah three-quarter was part of the team which thumped the then Six Nations champion 59-16 two years ago, running in seven tries as the French let in 46 points in an amazing last 30 minutes of the game.

He knows the World Cup runners-up will be a tougher proposition this time round, but said the Wallabies were ready for the first game of what should be a tough tour.

While the Wallabies will face the new laws for the first time in internationals, the French have been playing under them since August.

The key changes will be seen at the scrum, where "crouch-touch-pause-engage" will be replaced by the shorter "crouch-touch-set", and at the breakdown where attacking teams will be given five seconds to "use the ball or lose it".

WALLABIES: Mike Harris, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Pat McCabe, Nick Cummins, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Nathan Sharpe, Kane Douglas, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson. RESERVES: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Paddy Ryan, Rob Simmons, Radike Samo, Liam Gill, Brett Sheehan, Berrick Barnes.

Topics:  france, kane douglas, wallabies


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Art comes to life at the reef festival

ARTY: Some of the wearable art at the Reef Festival.

Art comes to life at the reef festival

Curly tails race to finish line

IT'S ON: The pure bred Australian miniature pigs raced through an obstacle course to the finish line at Show Whitsunday on Saturday afternoon. Photo Inge Hansen / Whitsunday Coast Guardian.

Little pigs made their way through a miniature course today

Are you ready for the Boom? Spenda is back

LIGHT ’EM UP: Spenda C will be bringing his tunes.

SPENDA C has played in some of the biggest clubs around.

Latest deals and offers

Woodchopper shows his strength

Long time woodchopper, Furlyn Barrett took out the woodchop championship at this year's Show Whitsunday.

Art comes to life at the reef festival

ARTY: Some of the wearable art at the Reef Festival.

Art comes to life at the reef festival

Curly tails race to finish line

IT'S ON: The pure bred Australian miniature pigs raced through an obstacle course to the finish line at Show Whitsunday on Saturday afternoon. Photo Inge Hansen / Whitsunday Coast Guardian.

Little pigs made their way through a miniature course today

Are you ready for the Boom? Spenda is back

LIGHT ’EM UP: Spenda C will be bringing his tunes.

SPENDA C has played in some of the biggest clubs around.

Viva Mario weighs in

WINNER: Terry Randall with winning bull Viva Mario. Photo Peter Carruthers / Whitsunday Coast Guardian.

Viva Mario wins Grand Champion Bull at Show Whitsunday

Coast DJ to light up Mama Africa

SPINNING: Gold Coast DJ Queen Victoria will hit the decks.Photo: Contributed

Coast DJ to light up Mama Africa

Caitlyn Shadbolt, Sara Storer join Gympie Muster bill

Caitlyn Shadbolt performs at CMC Rocks in March 2016.

AWARD-winning singers star in third line-up announcement.

Woodchop competition

Woodchop competitors at Show Whitsunday on Saturday afternoon.

Miniature pigs race to finish

Eight Australian miniature pigs raced to the finish line at Show Whitsunday on...

dog show

12-year-old Bearded Collie Indy stole the show.

Is this state’s cheapest house?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

Time flies when your job is so fun!

TEAM: Married couple, Mark and Belinda Beale bought Ray White Whitsundays in 2006 and since then the business has continued to grow. 
Photo contributed.

Time flies when your job is so fun!