Qantas Wallabies lock James Horwill will celebrate his milestone 50th game for Australia as part of a matchday squad boasting three potential debutants in Saturday night’s second Castrol EDGE France Tour clash at Etihad Stadium.
The 50-game honour adds to Horwill’s career accomplishments and will come in the starting line-up with the rugged lock re-joining Queensland Reds teammate Rob Simmons in the second row.
Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has made three personnel changes to the starting XV from the opening Test with hooker Stephen Moore (knee), lock Sam Carter (ankle) and backrower Wycliff Palu (ankle) all ruled out through injury.
Medical staff have taken a cautious approach with Palu, who sustained an ankle injury in his milestone 50th game for Australia. He is expected to return for the final game of the series in Sydney on Saturday 21 June.
Replacing Moore is powerhouse NSW Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who produced a devastating 76 minute performance in Australia’s 50-23 victory over the French at the weekend.
Horwill comes in for Carter while Western Force workhorse Ben McCalman continues his breakthrough 2014 campaign with selection at No.8.
Three players are also in line to make their Test debuts with Western Force hooker Nathan Charles and Melbourne Rebels pair Laurie Weeks and Luke Jones all chosen on the bench.
The Rebels will have a strong Melbourne contingent in the Qantas Wallabies side for Saturday’s match on home soil with Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham another looking to make an impact in the game as a replacement.
Despite a dominant seven-tries-to-two victory in the opening Test, McKenzie said his squad must improve if they are to wrap-up the series against the French.
“France is one of the few one teams in the world who can make a lot of changes and still turn things around quickly in one week. They never stay down for long and will be using the disappointment of the opening Test to motivate them for the second game,” McKenzie said.
“We were pleased with our performance on a short preparation but we understand that we must improve if we’re going to match a reinvigorated and desperate French line-up on Saturday night.
“It’s disappointing to lose three key forwards through injury, but in Tatafu, James and Ben, we’re bringing in a collective 126 game of international Test experience. They understand what Test Rugby is all about and will be determined to make the most of the opportunities they’re being given.
“A special mention must be made of James, who plays his milestone 50th game for Australia this week. I’ve seen the many contributions he’s made to Rugby in this country over a long period and I couldn’t be more pleased to be part of his milestone game on Saturday night.
“Congratulations also to our three potential debutants. It’s a huge honour to represent your country and if they get an opportunity from the bench I know they will do this team proud.”
Tickets are on sale for the Castrol EDGE France Tour, which continues at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Saturday 14 June; and concludes with a family-friendly Saturday afternoon encounter at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on 21 June.
The remaining Qantas Wallabies 2014 Castrol EDGE France Tour schedule is:
Saturday 14 June
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Saturday 21 June
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
The Qantas Wallabies side to play France in the second Castrol EDGE France Tour Test for the Trophée des Bicentenaires at Etihad Stadium on Saturday 14 June is:
1. James Slipper (vc - Queensland Reds - 50 caps)
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs – 47 caps)
3. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs - 39 caps)
4. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds - 38 caps)
5. James Horwill (Queensland Reds - 49 caps)
6. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies - 11 caps)
7. Michael Hooper (c - NSW Waratahs - 29 caps)
8. Ben McCalman (Western Force - 30 caps)
9. Nic White (ACT Brumbies - 11 caps)
10. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs - 5 caps)
11. Nick Cummins (Western Force - 13 caps)
12. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies - 11 caps)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies - 9 caps)
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (vc - NSW Waratahs - 92 caps)
15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs - 16 caps)
16. Nathan Charles (Western Force – uncapped)*
17. Pek Cowan (Western Force - 6 caps)
18. Laurie Weeks (Melbourne Rebels - uncapped)*
19. Luke Jones (Melbourne Rebels - uncapped)*
20. Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels - 23 caps)
21. Nick Phipps (NSW Waratahs – 15 caps)
22. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs - 40 caps)
23. Pat McCabe (ACT Brumbies - 21 caps)
* On Debut