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Injury-hit France not vulnerable: Cheika

AAP logoAAP 14/11/2016 Joe Barton

Not for the first time, the French rugby team has been hit with a crisis on the eve of an important Test - but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has scoffed at talk they're vulnerable.

The Australian mentor has strong links to France, having played for and coached Parisian heavyweights Stade Francais as well as playing for southern team Castres.

Cheika has enormous respect for the country, and knows too much to be lulled into any sense of doom surrounding France's occasionally erratic national side.

France suffered a heavy injury toll out of last weekend's victory over Samoa, with talented five-eighth Francois Trinh-Duc ruled out with a broken arm and No.8 Loann Goujon and star prop Jefferson Poirot not in France's 32-man squad named on Monday.

With Trinh-Duc sidelined, the recalled Camille Lopez is in line for his first Test cap since March last year.

Cheika was sympathetic to the plight of Trinh-Duc, who has been particularly unfortunate with injuries and broke his leg last year.

"I genuinely feel for Francois Trinh-Duc, he's a fantastic player," Cheika said.

"He's had such bad luck whenever he goes into the French jersey. And France play so well with him.

"He's an excellent player ... I hope he gets better soon."

Cheika pointed to omitted centre Jules Plisson, who he coached at Stade Francais, as evidence of the strength of France's depth.

"They've obviously got plenty of talent there. They've obviously got guys who have worked closely with (new coach Guy) Noves before," Cheika said.

"They've got plenty of options at 10 there to run their game and everything will start up front so that's where we've really got to look at."

France squad to face Australia:

Forwards: Uini Atonio, Cyril Baille, Remi Bonfils, Camille Chat, Xavier Chiocci, Damien Chouly, Kelian Galletier, Kevin Gourdon, Guilhem Guirado, Arthur Iturria, Wenceslas Lauret, Julien Le Devedec, Yoann Maestri, Charles Ollivon, Louis Picamoles, Clement Ric, Rabah Slimani, Sebastien Vahaamahina.

Backs: Djibril Camara, Jean-Marc Doussain, Brice Dulin, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Yoann Huget, Rcmi Lamerat, Camille Lopez, Maxime Machenaud, Maxime Mermoz, Noa Nakaitaci, Baptiste Serin, Scott Spedding, Virimi Vakatawa

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