Stephen Moore is set to become Australia’s most capped hooker. Photo: Getty Images
PARIS: Stephen Moore will finally become Australia's most capped hooker when he starts from the bench in the Wallabies Test against France this weekend.
Moore has recovered from a hamstring strain to overtake Jeremy Paul with his 73rd cap in what looms as Australia's most important match, in terms of rankings, of the four-Test tour.
He was included in a beefed-up Wallabies pack coach Robbie Deans named in Paris on Thursday, with Tatafu Polota-Nau starting at hooker alongside Benn Robinson and Sekope Kepu, whose 125-kilogram frame will be crucial to combating the intimidating French pack.
The loss of hard-hitting lock Sitaleki Timani, who is being rested because of a lower back complaint, means Kane Douglas will start alongside captain Nathan Sharpe in the second row, with Rob Simmons on the bench.
Dave Dennis will start in the No.6 jersey, alongside openside Michael Hooper and No.8 Wycliff Palu. Radike Samo will provide fresh physicality from the bench.
The Wallabies back line appears to be acquiring relative stability after Deans decided not to tinker with the combinations that forced a draw with the All Blacks in Brisbane last month. Adam Ashley-Cooper will partner with Nick Cummins on the wing in his fourth match out wide this season.
Mike Harris has been named at fullback, Nick Phipps and Kurtley Beale reprise their halves partnership, and Pat McCabe and Ben Tapuai combine in the midfield once again.
Berrick Barnes, who recovered from a punctured lung to travel with the squad, has taken Drew Mitchell's place on the bench.
Australia: 15. Mike Harris, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Ben Tapuai, 12. Pat McCabe, 11. Nick Cummins, 10. Kurtley Beale, 9. Nick Phipps, 8. Wycliff Palu, 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Dave Dennis, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Nathan Sharpe (c), 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Benn Robinson. Reserves: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Paddy Ryan, Rob Simmons, Radike Samo, Liam Gill, Brett Sheehan, Berrick Barnes.