Gordon in Wallabies team against France after knee injury scare

By Sports Desk July 05, 2021

Jake Gordon will return from a knee injury scare to start for the Wallabies against France in the first Test in Brisbane on Wednesday. 

The Waratahs captain is set to line up alongside Noah Lolesio in the halves with Nic White and James O'Connor ruled out due to injury. 

Few would have predicted Gordon would don the Australia number nine jersey so soon after he left late in a defeat to the Highlanders last month with what was initially feared to be an anterior cruciate ligament injury. 

Yet he was able to make a quick recovery after scans revealed only minor damage to his medial collateral ligament, opening the door for his first Wallabies start since his debut against Italy back in 2018.

Up front, Lolesio's Brumbies team-mates James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa are the starting props and Brandon Paenga-Amosa was named at hooker by head coach Dave Rennie.

Matt Philip and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto are in the second row, with Rob Valetini to make his first start for the Wallabies at blindside flanker, captain Michael Hooper in the number seven shirt and Harry Wilson at number eight.

Veteran Matt Toomua is at number 12 alongside Hunter Paisami.

The back three features Marika Koroibete and the Brumbies pairing of Tom Wright and Tom Banks.

"The whole squad has been training really hard over the past three weeks to prepare for what’s going to be an exciting, tough series against the French," Rennie said.

"We’ve always selected a side based on earning the right to wear the jersey and this team is no different.

"The whole group is excited to be back playing Test rugby in front of our families and supporters and we’re looking to start the year with a positive result at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.”

Australia have won their past 11 at home against France dating back to a 1990 loss in Brisbane.


Australia: Tom Banks Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon; James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rob Valenti, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway.

Related items

  • Beleaguered All Blacks drop to all-time rankings low with Springboks defeat Beleaguered All Blacks drop to all-time rankings low with Springboks defeat

    New Zealand have dropped to an all-time low of fifth in the world rankings after losing to South Africa in their Rugby Championship opener on Saturday.

    The All Blacks started the defence of their title with a 26-10 defeat at the hands of the world champions at Mbombela Stadium.

    It was a third consecutive loss for New Zealand, representing their worst run since they were beaten five times in a row back in 1998.

    The Springboks piled more pressure on under-fire All Blacks head coach Steve Foster, who vowed to fight on after a first ever home series loss to Ireland.

    Another setback in Nelspruit has dropped New Zealand below England just over a year before the Rugby World Cup starts in France.

    It is now five defeats in six Tests for the All Blacks, who face South Africa once again at Ellis Park this weekend with Foster's job seemingly on the line.

    Ireland are top of the rankings ahead of France, with the Springboks third.

  • No point 'sulking' for All Blacks after Springboks loss, says embattled coach Foster No point 'sulking' for All Blacks after Springboks loss, says embattled coach Foster

    New Zealand coach Ian Foster says there is no point in his side "sulking" over their defeat to South Africa, as the All Blacks coach faces increased calls to stand down.

    The tourists slipped to an opening defeat into the Rugby Championship against the Springboks on Saturday, with the world champions claiming at 26-10 win in Mbombela.

    It means New Zealand have now gone three games without victory, following consecutive losses to Ireland on home turf, producing their longest barren streak since 1998.

    With five losses in their last six Tests now, expectations are that Foster's position may become untenable with another loss in Johannesburg this weekend, with the New Zealand Herald calling for him to go in a front page editorial on Monday.

    But for now, the coach say his team must focus on the next step rather than their mistakes.

    Foster said: "We know there’s a lot of pressure on, and we’re feeling that. But our job is to look at our performance and how we can grow it.

    "I understand the frustration, but that doesn’t change what we have to do here.

    "There’s no point sulking about it for too long. We’ve just got to get into Ellis Park and keep growing our game and still believe."

    Foster also stated his intent to address South Africa's mid-air challenges following a scrappy first encounter, with Beauden and Jordie Barrett both injury doubts following tackles by Kurt-Lee Arendse.

    "It*s becoming a free-for-all for jumpers just to be able to jump and stick a hand out and say they’re competing. It needs to be addressed," he said.

  • Deschamps confident Pogba will make World Cup, dismisses Zidane talk Deschamps confident Pogba will make World Cup, dismisses Zidane talk

    Didier Deschamps remains confident Paul Pogba will be fit to play a big role for France at the World Cup despite missing the start of the season through injury.

    Pogba sustained a knee problem in pre-season after returning to Juventus from Manchester United on a free transfer.

    There were early suggestions surgery could see the World Cup winner miss Qatar 2022, but he has opted instead for therapy that aims to ensure a far swifter return.

    Pogba is set to again be paired with N'Golo Kante in the France midfield in November, although the Chelsea man has not been without his own injury issues in recent seasons.

    "We're talking about players who are in high demand – two players who have a big experience, leaders," Deschamps told Le Parisien of the duo.

    "It is important that they are there, but we are never safe – hence the need to prepare younger players.

    "I am obviously in contact with Paul. His participation in the World Cup, today, is not questioned."

    Antoine Griezmann is another player still seen as key to Deschamps' plans, despite scoring only three goals in LaLiga last season.

    "He's not a robot. Obviously the head controls the legs," Deschamps explained. "But every player encounters, sooner or later, a period of playing less well.

    "This translates, then, into a loss of confidence.

    "Antoine has had high-intensity seasons. Before his physical issue at the beginning of the year [a thigh injury], he had always been spared from injuries during his career.

    "A few months earlier, he had changed clubs. External elements may also have impacted it.

    "I know him well. He has a big mind. He needed to regenerate and will do everything to return to his best level. He represents a plus for the France team."

    For now the focus is on getting France in the best condition heading into the World Cup, even as former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane continues to be linked to Deschamps' job.

    The France boss, for his part, is not worried, saying: "I've always put the France team above me, above everything.

    "Today, the place is not free, since I occupy it with my staff. Afterwards, everyone has the freedom to say what he wants and how he wants. On me, it has no impact.

    "The interest, today, for the players and the whole squad, is to be efficient at the World Cup. Anything that can defeat this common goal is not necessarily a good thing."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.