Cheika puts faith in for­mer skip­per

The Star Early Edition - - RUGBY -

PARIS: For­mer cap­tain James Hor­will has re­turned to the Wal­la­bies’ start­ing line-up in the only change in the team to play France in Paris this week­end.

Hor­will, a re­serve last week, re­placed lock Sam Carter in the team which beat Wales 33-28 at Cardiff ’s Mil­len­nium Sta­dium on Satur­day.

The French Test at the Stade de France will be the third of the Wal­la­bies’ five-match Euro­pean tour this month.

Tight­head Sekope Kepu will play his 50th Test for Aus­tralia and be­come just the sixth prop in Aus­tralian rugby his­tory to reach the mile­stone.

Kepu (28) is in his sev­enth year of Test rugby after mak­ing his de­but against Italy in 2008.

“Sekope has been a great player for Aus­tralian rugby over a long pe­riod of time and I con­grat­u­late him on this very spe­cial mile­stone,” coach Michael Cheika said.

“He has proudly rep­re­sented the Wal­la­bies for seven years and the ex­pe­ri­ence he now brings to this team is in­valu­able.

“He still has plenty of im­prove­ment in his game and I’m con­fi­dent his best years of rugby are ahead of him.”

Cheika has yet to con­firm the Wal­la­bies re­serves bench and it will be an­nounced in the lead-up to the match.

Cheika said he was ex­pect­ing a vastly dif­fer­ent French team to the one Aus­tralia swept 3-0 dur­ing the June Test se­ries at home.

“The French have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent mind­set when they are play­ing at home, as well as some ex­cit­ing new play­ers in their squad, and we are un­der no il­lu­sions as to the in­ten­sity they are go­ing to bring to the game,” Cheika said.

“For us, it is still early days and we are get­ting used to a new sys­tem in at­tack and de­fence.” – Sapa-AFP

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