A slightly unusual summer tour for the French sees them travel to Brisbane instead of Sydney due to the current lockdown. That’ll mean the first and last Tests will be played at the Suncorp Stadium, while the second Test will be in Melbourne, as the whole series will be over in the space of 11 days.
Australia have had an interesting start to life under new coach Dave Rennie. He took over from Michael Cheika following their quarter-final exit to England at the 2019 World Cup, and although his win percentage sits at just 16.67%, four of those matches have come against New Zealand.
In fact, they actually remain unbeaten from their last three matches now, drawing with Argentina twice and beating the All Blacks at this very stadium by 24-22.
Unfortunately for France, they had to leave a few of their key players behind with the extended top 14 season, as their La Rochelle and Toulouse players wouldn’t have had time to make it for this shortened tour.
They’ve named as many as 21 uncapped players for the trip, as the likes of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack will not travel, but they do have the likes of Teddy Thomas, Damian Penaud and Demba Bamba to name a few.
Australia -11 Point Handicap
With that in mind, the French wait for a win ‘down under’ might have to go on. Indeed, their last victory on a tour to Australia came back in 1990 after the Aussies had already won the opening two games of that series, as they’ve lost all 11 of their such matches since.
Interestingly, five of the six of those matches here in Australia since 2008 have seen the hosts come out on top by at least 16 points and with such a weakened side for the Europeans, we’re struggling to see why the handicap line is just 11 points.
The Aussies have opted for a new scrum half and fly half combination with Jake Gordon and Noah Lolesio getting a starting birth and we’d still expect the hosts’ new-look side to shine through.