Gordon in Wallabies team against France after knee injury scare

By Sports Desk July 05, 2021

Jake Gordon will return from a knee injury scare to start for the Wallabies against France in the first Test in Brisbane on Wednesday. 

The Waratahs captain is set to line up alongside Noah Lolesio in the halves with Nic White and James O'Connor ruled out due to injury. 

Few would have predicted Gordon would don the Australia number nine jersey so soon after he left late in a defeat to the Highlanders last month with what was initially feared to be an anterior cruciate ligament injury. 

Yet he was able to make a quick recovery after scans revealed only minor damage to his medial collateral ligament, opening the door for his first Wallabies start since his debut against Italy back in 2018.

Up front, Lolesio's Brumbies team-mates James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa are the starting props and Brandon Paenga-Amosa was named at hooker by head coach Dave Rennie.

Matt Philip and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto are in the second row, with Rob Valetini to make his first start for the Wallabies at blindside flanker, captain Michael Hooper in the number seven shirt and Harry Wilson at number eight.

Veteran Matt Toomua is at number 12 alongside Hunter Paisami.

The back three features Marika Koroibete and the Brumbies pairing of Tom Wright and Tom Banks.

"The whole squad has been training really hard over the past three weeks to prepare for what’s going to be an exciting, tough series against the French," Rennie said.

"We’ve always selected a side based on earning the right to wear the jersey and this team is no different.

"The whole group is excited to be back playing Test rugby in front of our families and supporters and we’re looking to start the year with a positive result at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.”

Australia have won their past 11 at home against France dating back to a 1990 loss in Brisbane.


Australia: Tom Banks Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon; James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rob Valenti, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway.

Related items

  • Chandler Cunningham-South pleased to be reaping the rewards after a ‘big step’ Chandler Cunningham-South pleased to be reaping the rewards after a ‘big step’

    Chandler Cunningham-South is relishing every minute of the Six Nations maelstrom as he prepares to play a part in England’s daunting clash with back-to-back Grand Slam chasers Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

    Cunningham-South’s gamble in leaving New Zealand, where he had lived since the age of four, to return to the UK two years ago has paid off handsomely with his ascendancy to the full England squad for the first time this year.

    His debut off the bench in the opening win over Italy, and subsequent appearances against both Wales and Scotland, have appeared to make the Harlequins flanker an integral part of head coach Steve Borthwick’s long-term plans.

    “It has been a really big step up for me and I think I have done all right,” said Cunningham-South. “I think I am the youngest in the squad and I have been taken under a few people’s wings.

    “I like it. Especially when we were up in Edinburgh getting off the bus – all the heckling and yelling. That sort of stuff motivates me and gives me an extra bit of energy.

    “Twickenham is awesome to play at. You don’t actually realise how big the stadium is until you are on the field looking up. It seems to not stop. It was awesome – so loud, so passionate, a real cool place to play.”

    Cunningham-South, who was born in Sidcup, decided to head back over to England to pursue his rugby career after finding his opportunities limited in New Zealand.

    But he admits he had big moments of doubt after arriving in the midst of the Covid pandemic and finding himself struck down with the illness more or less immediately.

    “I got the opportunity over in England and it all happened pretty quickly,” he added. “It was a weird time because I was stuck inside for 18 days with Covid and I was like, ‘Did I make the right decision?’ But once I had got rid of the Covid and got into training I knew I had done.

    “I suppose it’s not meant to be easy. Moving over at that age I was a little homesick at first, but when you are working hard and having fun with new friends it gets pushed to the back of your head and I have been loving every minute of it.”

    Cunningham-South initially joined the London Irish academy in 2022, representing England in the under-20 Six Nations in the same year, before moving on to Harlequins when Irish folded due to financial issues.

    His swift ascent up the England ranks was confirmed when he came off the bench in the narrow opening win over Italy and Cunningham-South believes he is beginning to reap the benefits of his big career decision.

    “I needed to develop a lot and that’s why I wanted to be a part of an academy set-up,” he added.

    “And there was a definite mindset switch – what it takes to be a professional is very different to when you are playing uni rugby. I didn’t realise how much detail goes into the professional game. It was a bit of a shock, but it’s been good.”

  • Wales forward Mackenzie Martin hopes to be a role model for the Ely community Wales forward Mackenzie Martin hopes to be a role model for the Ely community

    Mackenzie Martin hopes he can be a “trailblazer” to inspire young people in Cardiff’s Ely community after making his Wales debut following just nine games of professional rugby.

    The 20-year-old featured as a replacement in Wales’ 31-7 Guinness Six Nations defeat against Ireland.

    Ely, a western Cardiff suburb, has not always enjoyed positive headlines and was the scene of major riots in 1991 and 2023.

    Martin grew up on the estate’s Grand Avenue, and he is the latest sportsman to emerge from an area that can boast a portfolio containing Ryan Giggs, Steve Robinson and his fellow boxer Nicky Piper.

    “I hope I can be a trailblazer,” Cardiff back-row forward Martin said. “I hope the kids are going to look up to me.

    “When I went down there the other week, even before I made my debut, there were a good few of them copying my haircut.

    “They came up to me and were saying ‘I’ve got the same hair as you’ and that type of thing. All theirs looked better than mine, so I was a bit jealous!

    “Growing up, it wasn’t obviously the easiest, as anybody can imagine, but my family has always been great and I have learnt from them.

    “I was always going to work hard because I think my dad is the hardest worker I know. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can still make something of yourself.

    “My dad worked in warehouses, he has delivered milk, he has done loads of things. He has always been on the go, so that gives me the inspiration to keep working hard.”

    Martin has a deep religious faith, and he added: “Everybody always thinks that rugby – not saved me – but that rugby put me on the right path. But it was God that helped me do that.

    “God put that opportunity into my life, so that is how strong my faith is and that is why I always say ‘all glory to God’ and stuff like that because I wouldn’t have had the opportunities without him.”

    Martin only made his professional debut in November 2023, but he has joined Cardiff team-mates Cameron Winnett and Alex Mann as exciting Six Nations newcomers.

    Such was Martin’s impact off the bench in Dublin that it would be no surprise if he is promoted to a starting place against France on Sunday week.

    And he will continue to be inspired by a player he describes as “the man” – 104 times-capped Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau.

    “Me and my dad always watched Wales together, and every time we would see him (Faletau) my dad would say ‘he is amazing’,” Martin said.

    “When I transitioned to the back-row when I was about 16 I was always just trying to follow in his footsteps and how he played the game.

    “Obviously, we are a little bit different as players, but it is still the way he works around the field and the way he carries himself. That was the inspiration.

    “He is one of the best number eights in the world – well, for me the best number eight in the world – so if I can even replicate that a little bit I would be doing myself proud.”

  • Glenn Phillips grabs five wickets as New Zealand cling to hope Glenn Phillips grabs five wickets as New Zealand cling to hope

    New Zealand kept their hopes in the first Test alive as Glenn Phillips took five wickets to bowl Australia out and set a target of 369 on the third day in Wellington.

    Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon was the unlikely top scorer for Australia, falling on 41 with his first Test 50 in sight.

    Cameron Green continued his form with 34, but all-rounder Phillips spun his way to five wickets and was on a hat-trick after removing Travis Head for 29 and dismissing Mitch Marsh with the next ball.

    Phillips finished with 5-45 as Australia were all out for 164.

    The Australians struck early in the Blackcaps innings, Lyon dismissing Tom Latham and Kane Williamson for single-digit scores, before part-timer Head removed Will Young for 15.

    Rachin Ravindra (56 not out) and Daryl Mitchell (12 not out) dug in for the rest of the day.

    Two days remain with New Zealand requiring 257 pull off what would be an incredible victory.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.