Rugby Union 2 years ago

Wallabies learn from Scotland wake-up call

  • Wallabies learn from Scotland wake-up call

    PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Sekope Kepu of the Wallabies runs the ball during the Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and Argentina at nib Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Wallabies have been warned not to fall into the trap of viewing France as a team of all sizzle and no steak.

Lauded as the kings of flair, France's reputation as international rugby's flashy team has earned them plaudits for decades.

But it can mask the hard-nosed rugby which wins big Tests, and that is what has the Wallabies on high alert ahead of Saturday's clash at Stade de France.

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Prop Sekope Kepu has concerns which hit closer to home than the dashing pace and guile of their outside backs.

"Their scrum is a weapon for them. They're renowned for it," Kepu said on Tuesday.

Kepu said the key to nullifying the 80,000-strong crowd was to silence them in the scrum.

And even the loss of impressive young prop Jefferson Poirot to a shoulder injury shouldn't hinder France's threat in the set piece, Kepu argues.

"He's a great young guy coming through and obviously to lose him is massive for the French side, but they've got a lot of guys coming through," Kepu said of his former Bordeaux teammate.

"There's no shortage of front rowers here."

Kepu plans on taking aside young bucks Allen Alaalatoa and Tom Robertson ahead of the match to prepare them for what to expect from the crowd and the match.

"The biggest thing is (the French) love scrummaging, their mentality is a bit different to what the southern hemisphere teams (do) and what we're used to," Kepu said.

"It's something they take pride in and it's something we've built over the last year or two as the Wallabies and Australian front row.

"It's a forward pack thing (but) just the way they operate and the way they like to scrum is something that I'll have a chat to the boys about.

"It's a massive challenge and we're definitely looking forward to it."

Both Kepu and utlity back Dane Haylett-Petty have experience playing club rugby in France, and both are wise to the ruse that French teams are all flash and no substance.

"They're a great team. They're capable of playing an attacking, exciting style of rugby," Haylett-Petty said.

"Everyone talks about the French flair (but) also because of the European (style) they're also able to grind out wins.

"We know what a challenge it's going to be and we're really looking for to it.

"The boys are preparing well and looking forward to the next challenge."

Australia is currently undefeated on the Spring Tour, with victories over Wales and Scotland leaving them halfway to a treasured grand slam - with fixtures against Ireland and England to follow the France Test.

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