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RLWC Preview: Australia vs. France

Dan Talintyre

AUS v FRA

Australia will look to build on its strong start to the World Cup when they take on France in what should be a straightforward contest in Canberra this Friday night.

While England certainly pushed the Kangaroos in their opening encounter, Mal Meninga’s side never really looked troubled, and eventually pulled away with a late Josh Dugan try to win by 14 points. Even being far from perfect, the Kangaroos were too good for their European counterparts and you get the feeling the same will be the case this weekend following France’s disappointing finish to their clash against Lebanon last Sunday afternoon.

Having fought back to level the match with less than 10 minutes remaining, the absence of NRL experience was telling for Les Tricolours, who conceded a long-range field goal and two tries inside the final five minutes to finish with an 11-point loss in the end.

With England’s clash against Lebanon perhaps shaping as a closer affair than initially expected, France will need to do the seemingly impossible and knock off Australia if they are to progress through to the knockout rounds. By comparison, should the Kangaroos win and win well, they could lock up top spot of the group with a game still to play against Lebanon.

Despite the Kangaroos making a number of changes — and four debutants — to the team that got the job done against England, this one should be pretty straightforward.
 

Group A: Australia vs. France

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Friday, November 3, 2017

Time — 8:00pm AEDT

Venue — GIO Stadium, Canberra (Australia)

 

LIVE STREAM AND TV INFORMATION

Live Stream — Channel 7’s https://7live.com.au/ (Australia only)

TV — Click here for a full country-by-country list of TV broadcasts.

 

TEAM NEWS

Australia — 1. Billy Slater 2. Tom Trbojevic 3. Will Chambers 4. Josh Dugan 5. Josh Mansour 6. Michael Morgan 7. James Maloney 8. Jordan McLean 9. Cameron Smith 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Wade Graham 12. Tyson Frizell 13. Josh McGuire

Interchange: 14. Cameron Munster 15. Felise Kaufusi 16. Aaron Woods 17. David Klemmer

Reserves: 18. Valentine Holmes 19. Matt Gillett 20. Boyd Cordner 21. Dane Gagai

France — 1. Mark Kheirallah 2. Fouad Yaha 3. Bastien Ader 4. Olivier Arnaud 5. Ilias Bergal 6. Remy Marginet 7. Theo Fages 8. Maxime Herold 9. Eloi Pelissier 10. Julian Bousquet 11. Benjamin Garcia 12. Benjamin Jullien 13. Jason Baitieri

Interchange: 14. Thibault 15. Mickael Rouch 16. Romain Navarrete 17. John Boudebza

Reserves: 18. Lucas Albert 19. Antonio Maria 20. Nabil Djalout 21. Lambert Belmas

 

RLWC STANDINGS — POOL A

 

Played

Won

Lost

F/A

Points

Australia

1

1

0

+14

2

Lebanon

1

1

0

+11

2

France

1

0

1

-11

0

England

1

0

1

-14

0

 

HISTORY

These two nations have a long history, having first met in 1938 as part of the Kangaroos’ European tour. Since then, they’ve squared off on 59 occasions in total — Australia winning 43 of those, while France have won 14 with two draws. However, recently, it’s been all the Kangaroos, who have not lost to France since 1978 (lost 11-10) while the Aussies have also not lost against the French on home soil since going down 7-5 in 1960.

 

PLAYER TO FOLLOW — Josh McGuire, Australia

With Jake Trbojevic (pectoral) ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, the lock forward spot in the Kangaroos’ pack is open and further minutes available in the rotation — something which Maroons enforcer Josh McGuire is more than capable of filling. McGuire only played 32 minutes off the bench in the Kangaroos’ opener, but still chalked up 86 metres from just nine runs as well as 20 tackles and will be keen to try and make the lock spot his own here.

 

PREDICTION

With a full week of preparation and their opponents coming off a short turnaround as well as a frustrating defeat to Lebanon, this one will simply be a matter of how much the Kangaroos will win by. A boost to the for-and-against would allow Meninga’s side to experiment in their final group stage game and not risk dropping top spot in the group, so we expect the green and gold to put the foot down here and produce a comprehensive victory. It might not beat the 74-0 that they suffered back in 1994, but it may end up going close. Australia by 64.

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