June International Tours

France question if Wallabies better than NZ

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Tyro flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc will measure his development against the player the French rate as the best playmaker in world rugby in Saturday’s Test against the Wallabies, assistant coach Emile Ntamack said Monday.


The Tricolours are coming off an impressive split two-Test series with the All Blacks in New Zealand over the last fortnight and back up for a third demanding international against Australia here this weekend.


France’s head coach Marc Lievremont and Ntamack rate Matt Giteau as world rugby’s pinnacle playmaker and 22-year-old Trinh-Duc is expected to line up against him at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.


“For me Giteau is the best playmaker in the world — he has perfected his position,” Lievremont said Monday.


Ntamack said the one-off Test against the third-rated Wallabies will provide Trinh-Duc to gauge himself against a world-class opponent such as Giteau.


“When you play against the best player you can have, when you play against Matt Giteau, you can compare your position and his position and what you must learn again to be better,” Ntamack said.


Fifth-ranked France come to Australia with a point to prove after losing three times to the Wallabies last year.


“Maybe the Wallabies’ team is better than the New Zealand team for the moment,” Ntamack said.


“Last year we had a lot of young players (on tour here) because the French championship was not over.


“This year it is different. We have the best players we can have.”

 

Trinh-Duc, who made his Test debut in 2008, said playing against the All Blacks has fast-tracked his development.

But he said Giteau has “no weaknesses”.


“He is one of the best number ten’s in the world. He plays equally well kicking and ball in hand, very cleverly,” he said.


“We want to impose our game and find again a kind of French flair.


“The coach (Lievremont) asks us to be more ambitious on the field.”


Lievremont said he didn’t accept that his side would be better prepared than the Wallabies, on the back of two gruelling games against the All Blacks.


“Perhaps we will be better prepared because we have had two hard games but they have been able to rotate their squad,” Lievremont said.


“They had a number of players who didn’t play (against Italy on Saturday).


“So maybe they will be fresher. I don’t know what is better.


“We have some injuries already in the group, players who are tired and will have to play a third match, players not used to playing three matches in a row at that level. I really don’t know.”


It has been 19 years since the Australians last lost at home to France (28-19 in 1990) and overall they have won 13 of their 18 home internationals against them.

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