Australia vs France Preview

If France fail to win in Canberra on Friday their competition is as good as over. They will have to rely on Lebanon beating England, and then beat England themselves the week after to secure their place in the quarterfinals. The French side didn't perform badly but did fail to convert chances into points. France only managed a completion rate of 68% through the entire match, against better opposition such as the Kangaroos they will be punished, completing just 21 of their 31 sets. Australia were much more efficient with possession, completing 78% of their 42 sets, and forcing 2 repeat sets from kicks to the in goal area.

France: The French were their own worst enemies against Lebanon, coming up with 13 errors, most of which came in good attacking positions. Their ill discipline with ball in hand would ultimately cost them. If France want to beat Australia they need to focus on set completion early on in the game, seeing out the first ten minutes not conceding or putting the ball to ground. If that means their first 5 sets are 4 hit ups and a kick then so be it. It's not all bad for France though they had a lot of second phase play, with a total of 17 offloads. Most of which came from Julian Bousquet who had a really impressive game, managing a total of; 147 running metres, 1 try assist and 17 tackles in the 57 minutes he was on the field. France's halves seem to lack creativity in game 1 and failed to really to inject themselves into the game, this has to be addressed as it  meant France were relying mainly on their forwards to make any difference. The French made a total of 1512 running metres, Benjamin Garcia(124m), Jason Baitieri (111m) and Julian Bousquet(147m) the leader metre makers in the pack. Defense is going to have to be much better, a grand total of 29 missed tackles over the course of the game, against a side like Australia can and will prove very costly, especially against a side that produced 7 line breaks against a resilient England side.

Australia: The Roo's had to really put in a shift last Friday, none more so than their back's, Gagai, Slater and Holmes managing a total 548 metres between them. This comes to just over of a quarter of all of Australia's 2147 running metres in the game. I can't see Australia changing their tactics against the French, looking to expose their backs and take advantage of missed tackles, the Kangaroo's will still see France as a legitimate threat due to the implications of a French loss on Friday. One of Australia's real unsung heroes was prop David Klemmer, he put in a huge 54 minutes in the 10 jersey, accumulating; 190 running Metres, 21 tackles and 1 try assist. Australia have made quite a few changes ahead of this game with Munster, Tom Trbojevic, James Maloney, Josh Mansour , Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Felise Kaufusi all drafted in for the affair. This many changes would unsettle the dynamic of most teams but the returning champions have such great squad depth, making them a real challenge even when fielding second choice players. Australia Came up with 11 errors in total last week, something that coach Mal Meninga, will want to see reduced, this however does not mean Australia will shy away from putting the ball through their hands with complex line moves.

Conclusion: Australia should be cautious coming into this match as France have a whole lot more to lose than the Aussies. France will throw the ball around and may even risk running it on the last in an effort to catch Australia off guard, ultimately I don't think it will be enough. Once Australia have analysed the first 10 minutes of the match they will then proceed to dictate the pace of the game, which will prove too much for the French side. Australia have this fixture by a minimum of 40 points for me.



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