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France to play 3 rugby tests in Australia this July

PARIS (AP) — France will play rugby tests in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on a tour of Australia in July, the French Rugby Federation said Thursday.

Seven years after last playing in Australia, Les Tricolores will take on the Wallabies on July 7 at Sydney Cricket Ground; at Melbourne's AAMI Park on July 13 and four days later at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

Rugby Australia said the condensed series, which includes two midweek matches, is due to French club commitments and hotel quarantine for the visitors due to coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first time since 2012 that the Wallabies have played a midweek test, with Australia losing that match to Scotland.

Both countries will name larger squads than normal for the series because it’s unlikely they can field the same starting side in successive tests.

France’s Top 14 final is set for June 26, so some of France’s best players won’t be available for early tests because they will have to quarantine when they arrive in Australia.

France has improved since coach Fabien Galthie took charge after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, where France reached the quarterfinals. Galthie has guided the team to second place in the Six Nations championship for two straight seasons after several years of mediocrity.

France has played with considerable flair under Galthie, and now has a side brimming with young talent from the team which was twice crowned under-20 world champions.

France lost 50-23; 6-0 and 39-13 when it last played in Australia.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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