McKenzie coy on Wallabies choices

RUGBY UNION

Ewen McKenzie is keeping his cards close to his chest, only revealing there will be good and in-form players who miss out on his first Wallabies team of 2014.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.

Fresh from appointing hooker Stephen Moore as skipper, McKenzie admitted he faced more difficult calls on Tuesday naming his starting team to play France in the First Test on Saturday night.

With just five days to prepare his side for the Suncorp Stadium series-opener, the coach has little time to strike combinations and hope they gel.

McKenzie said last month the players who served him well on the successful European tour in November would have the inside running, but reiterated on Monday that "performance is king".

"Unluckily for me it's going to be a tough day at the office when we finally sort it out," he said.

"Since we've announced the squad [on May 22] it's been confirmed to me that we picked the right guys, so that will make selection really difficult.

"The team that I announce tomorrow, there will be good players that will miss out."

The most contentious is five-eighth, where NSW Waratahs teammates Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale vie for the No 10 jersey vacated by an injured Quade Cooper.

Although Beale comes closest to Cooper's X-factor game, Foley has been in stirring form at five-eighth for NSW and is a more accurate goalkicker.

No 8 is also a difficult call with Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham and Wycliff Palu vying to take the place of France-bound former skipper Ben Mowen.

France name their team on Wednesday and most interest surrounds their choice of five-eighth between halfback Morgan Parra or veteran Frederic Michalak.

Possible Wallabies starting team: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Nick Cummins, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (capt), James Slipper. - AAP

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