Junior Kangaroos v France preview: Final teams announced

Even though this squad is just the Junior Kangaroos, some of Australia's stacked line-up wouldn't look out of place in the Test team.

The Junior Kangaroos age limit was increased from under 20s to 23s this year to establish a clearer pathway to Test selection, with coach Neil Henry dubbing his troops "a genuine Australia A side".

The young talents, all of whom have played in the NRL, will face France's senior side at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Friday afternoon in the curtain-raiser to the women's and men's Trans-Tasman clashes.

Australian Test coach Mal Meninga will keep a close eye on the match and has said standout performances could be rewarded with a berth in his squad to play Tonga on November 2.

France had a hit-out at the World Cup 9s last weekend, winning one of four matches.

Watch live

Visitors to NRL.com can watch the match live from 3.10pm.

The Rundown

Junior Kangaroos: Newcastle scrapped Kalyn Ponga's five-eighth experiment early in the season but he'll get another shot in the No.6 jersey here. The electric Ryan Papenhuyzen will play fullback instead. David Fifita has been named captain, with Brodie Croft as his deputy. The team will be as per program with Brisbane's Gehamat Shibasaki the 18th man.

France: Captain Jason Baitieri sensationally quit the team on Monday, citing a "lack of professionalism" from the higher-ups in the national system. Wigan prop Romain Navarrete has been named the new skipper of a team light on for Super League experience. The team announced an hour before kick-off is 1-17.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Junior Kangaroos is number 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
    Fullback for France is number 1 Thomas Lasvenes
  • Winger for Junior Kangaroos is number 2 Campbell Graham
    Winger for France is number 2 Gavin Marguerite
  • Centre for Junior Kangaroos is number 3 Brian Kelly
    Centre for France is number 3 Arthur Romano
  • Centre for Junior Kangaroos is number 4 Zac Lomax
    Centre for France is number 4 Vincent Albert
  • Winger for Junior Kangaroos is number 5 Reuben Garrick
    Winger for France is number 5 Paul Marcon
  • Five-Eighth for Junior Kangaroos is number 6 Kalyn Ponga
    Five-Eighth for France is number 6 Hakim Miloudi
  • Halfback for Junior Kangaroos is number 7 Brodie Croft
    Halfback for France is number 7 Lucas Albert

Forwards

  • Prop for Junior Kangaroos is number 8 Corey Horsburgh
    Prop for France is number 8 Maxime Puech
  • Hooker for Junior Kangaroos is number 9 Reed Mahoney
    Hooker for France is number 9 Charles Bouzinac
  • Prop for Junior Kangaroos is number 10 Thomas Flegler
    Prop for France is number 10 Lambert Belmas
  • 2nd Row for Junior Kangaroos is number 11 David Fifita
    2nd Row for France is number 11 Paul Seguier
  • 2nd Row for Junior Kangaroos is number 12 Angus Crichton
    2nd Row for France is number 12 Jordan Dezaria
  • Lock for Junior Kangaroos is number 13 Victor Radley
    Lock for France is number 13 Romain Navarrete

Interchange

  • Interchange for Junior Kangaroos is number 14 Alexander Brimson
    Interchange for France is number 14 Mathieu Jussaume
  • Interchange for Junior Kangaroos is number 15 Nat Butcher
    Interchange for France is number 15 Bastien Canet
  • Interchange for Junior Kangaroos is number 16 Emre Guler
    Interchange for France is number 16 Arnaud Bartes
  • Interchange for Junior Kangaroos is number 17 Tino Faasuamaleaui
    Interchange for France is number 17 Justin Sangare

Key players

The 19-year-old Fifita's appointment as skipper could be the clearest sign yet that he's on the cusp of Test selection.

The young Bronco was outstanding for Australia in the World Cup 9s - and Meninga confirmed he would come under consideration to play Tonga next weekend.

Elsewhere, NSW Origin forward Angus Crichton will be hard to contain in the second row, back-to-back premiership winner Victor Radley should bring his usual toughness and skill at lock, while Ponga, Papenhuyzen and AJ Brimson loom as game-breakers.

For the Kangaroos to win

The backs might receive the spoils on the scoreboard, but Australia's fearsome forward pack hold the keys here. If the big men can get the rucks rolling, the speedsters will cause serious headaches.

Stat attack

Between them, the Junior Kangaroos' top 17 have 616 NRL games. Crichton leads the pack with 81, while Melbourne back-rower Tino Fa'asuamaleaui has the least experience on five first-grade appearances.

And another thing...

Radley, Fa'asuamaleaui, Zac Lomax, Emre Guler, Thomas Flegler and Gehamat Shibasaki played in last year's Junior Kangaroos (under-20s) team that beat New Zealand 40-24 at Mt Smart Stadium.

Be there live at WIN Stadium for the Test Match Double Header. Visit nrl.com/tickets to purchase tickets.