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Cheika rests weary Wallabies for France

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Joe Barton

With a raft of changes, new faces and a 13th debutant for the season, the Wallabies will put their unbeaten Spring Tour record on the line against an attack-minded France outfit.

There are only four survivors from the starting lineup from last week's last-gasp victory over Scotland, though the crucial figure of flanker David Pocock is among them.

The selection of Pocock, arguably the most influential Wallaby, supports coach Michael Cheika's assertion that this is not simply a reserves team which gives the starters a rest ahead of the all-important fixtures against Ireland and England - where victories would secure a first grand slam since 1984.

Of the 11 starters from last week who have been named on the bench or left out of the match-day 23 altogether, six have played in every Test match this year.

Cheika said it was important to manage the workloads of his players, meaning a rest for the six - Michael Hooper, Stephen Moore, Israel Folau, ,Dane Haylett-Petty, Sekope Kepu and Bernard Foley - was essential.

"We're never going to come on a five-Test match tour and play the same team every week. It'll take its toll," Cheika said ahead of Saturday's Test at Stade de France (0700 Sunday AEDT).

"There's two things: resting guys because you're scared they're going to get injured, which we don't do. That's not what we're doing.

"That's not what footy is about - you go out and play and that's what happens.

"Maybe some of the guys we decided to leave out have been through high loads throughout the whole season.

"But that still doesn't mean they won't have a part to play (off the bench).

"This is an important game, for us and for the depth we want to be able to have in our team where we can make some changes and play at an improved level.

"We're going to have to improve from the Scottish game no doubt."

The sweeping changes will make Kyle Godwin Australia's 13th debutant in a year of change, while his Western Force teammate Luke Morahan earns a second Test cap four years after his Wallabies debut.

Hooker Tolu Latu and winger Sefa Naivalu get their first chances to start for Australia, having debuted off the bench this year.

Cheika said there had always been a plan to rest players in one game on this tour, and the French Test was the most appropriate as it coincided with an influx of eight players from outside the squad who were arriving for next week's clash against the French Barbarians in Bordeaux.

But he isn't taking anything for granted against the talented but occasionally erratic French, who are missing star playmaker Francois Trinh-Duc.

"We understand exactly the threats that they bring and at home at a full Stade De France," he said.

"They'll always be a step above, they'll always play out of their skin.

"So, we're going to have to present them ourselves with some challenges on both sides of the ball, on the attack and defence, to make sure it's a real contest."

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