Landmark for Kepu against France

Date published: November 14 2014

Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu will play his milestone 50th Test for Australia in Saturday’s clash against France in Paris.

Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu will play his milestone 50th Test for Australia in Saturday’s clash against France in Paris.

The talented 28-year-old will become just the sixth prop in Australian rugby history to reach the 50-game milestone, joining a group which includes Ben Alexander (70 games), Benn Robinson and Al Baxter (69 games), James Slipper (60 games) and Ewen McKenzie (51 games).

Kepu will reach the mark in his seventh year of Test rugby after making his debut against Italy in 2008, with the honour adding to an already special season which also included winning a maiden Super Rugby title for the NSW Waratahs.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika congratulated Kepu on his achievement.

“Sekope has been a great player for Australia over a long period of time and I speak for everyone when I congratulate him on this very special milestone,” said Cheika.

“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.”

Kepu’s selection comes as part of a starting line-up which includes just one change to the team which beat Wales 33-28 at Millennium Stadium at the weekend.

The change sees lock James Horwill come into the starting XV in place of Sam Carter, highlighting the improved depth of the Wallabies’ second-row.

The Wallabies bench has yet to be finalised and will be confirmed and 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.

“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,” added Cheika.

“For us, it is still early days and we are getting used to a new system in attack and defence. I was happy with the first steps we took against Wales.

“The challenge for us this week was to ensure that we raised the bar much higher in terms of our accuracy and intensity at training.

“We really want to do Australia proud against France this weekend.”

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 James Horwill, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: TBC

Date: Saturday, November 15
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kickoff: 20:00 local (18:00 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)