The Wallabies are hoping to continue their impressive form heading into the final Test. Picture: Getty Images/heraldsun.com.au
Wallabies v France
Saturday June 21 – 3:00 PM (AEST)
Ewen McKenzie is a very good coach. Taking over the Wallabies in 2013, he had a plan. He looked to the future and predicted good times were ahead. It has taken some time, but we are starting to see the fruits of his labour. A dominant performance in the first game of the tour was followed up by a tough defensive win, made even sweeter when you look at the forwards France has to offer.
It was such a quality game last Saturday. The main focus for the Wallabies heading into the second game of the tour was to stop France’s big boppers - and didn’t they do just that. Keeping a team scoreless is such a huge achievement in the modern game. They controlled the ball, defended well and did all the little things right. Sometimes to win ugly is what it’s all about. Forget the big left foot step into a gap, or the chip and chase in the dying minutes, to win games. It’s about knowing the task at hand and doing all that is needed. Michael Hooper embodied just that. Playing tough in the ruck and running the ball hard, the young captain proved he is up to the task. McKenzie has made just two changes to the 15 man squad, with Will Skelton getting his chance to don the green and gold and Wycliff Palu getting another opportunity in the starting side.
The French have nothing but pride to play for, and sometimes that’s all a team needs. At risk of a whitewash, coach Philippe Saint-Andre is pushing his men to stand tall heading into Saturday's clash. Both teams kept each other try-less in game 2, with the Wallabies kicking two penalty goals for a 6-0 victory. For a team that leaked seven tries in the first Test, this was a big improvement for the French. It is a big game, not only for the team itself, which has not won in Australia in 24 years, but also for the captain. Thierry Dusautoir is on the verge of setting a new record for the number of caps as the French captain, a huge milestone in an already illustrious career. The visitors have made just two changes, with flanker Fulgence Ordraogo moving to the starting side, dropping Yannick Nyanga to the bench, and young Hugo Bonneval gets his third cap on the wing.
The French have opted for a more agile pack this game, so expect points a plenty. If the Wallabies hope to sweep the floors with these Frenchmen, they need to be tough in the middle, as well as tight on the flanks.
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