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Rugby-Wallabies to face France in three-test July series

REUTERS: Australia will face France in three tests in 11 days in July across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as they kick off their 2021 season, Rugby Australia announced on Friday.

The first test will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday July 7, marking the return of midweek test rugby for the Wallabies for the first time in nine years.

The last time Australia, who are currently ranked seventh, played a midweek test was in 2012 against Scotland - a match they lost 9-6.

The action will then shift south to Melbourne for the second test on Tuesday July 13 before a potential decider at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium four days later.

Fifth-ranked France last visited Australia in 2014, when they were thumped 3-0.

The opening test in Sydney will be the first meeting between the two sides in almost five years, with Fabien Galthie's men scheduled to arrive on the back of a promising Six Nations campaign in which they finished second.

"France are one of the most exciting teams in world rugby; they play with passion, flair and unpredictability and have proven time and time again they are one of the global forces of our game," Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said.

French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte is confident the two teams will provide a spectacle.

"It is a great opportunity for our team to confront an emblematic nation of the southern hemisphere that has marked the history of world rugby such as Australia," Laporte said.

"We are convinced that our bleus, who feel a growing popular wave of the French at each match, will be keen to continue to perform on the international stage and demonstrate that France is among the great nations of world rugby."

Australia and France last locked horns in Paris in 2016 with the Wallabies winning 25-23.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: Reuters


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