France failed to score a point in the second Test, but in Brice Dulin they have a player who can hurt the Wallabies in Sydney. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
While it may seem strange to pick out a player for his attacking showing given that defence clearly came out on top in Melbourne, the Clermont fullback showed enough to suggest that France can go one step better and finally pick up a long-awaited win on Australian soil.
Not since 1990 has that feat been achieved, but having solved their defensive woes from the first Test, the French will now need a dose of that famous flair if they are to trouble the Australians on Saturday. Dulin is one of the few players in the current squad who exhibit that trait.
He looked threatening with ball in hand on Saturday, especially on the kick return. If France can once again trouble the Wallabies at the breakdown, Dulin may just be the man to profit.
The meeting in Melbourne was the lowest-scoring encounter ever between the two teams and the first time the French have failed to score a point.
Both teams have made mininmal changes for this one. Australia have acted to nullify France's physical defence by going for size and power up front. Mammoth Waratahs' lock Will Skelton will make his debut, while Wycliff Palu will be expected to use his own considerable frame to get the Wallabies across the gainline from the back of the scrum. James Horwill and Ben McCalman are the two to make way.
The French have also decided to tweak their loose trio, with Fulgence Ouedraogo given the nod over Yannick Nyanga. Hugo Bonneval, who started at fullback in the first Test, will win his fourth cap for France, this time from the left wing.
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Overall: Australia 25, France 17, Drawn 2
In Australia: Australia 16, France 4, Drawn 1
DULIN'S STATS THAT MATTER
17 – The number of carries he made during the second Test against the Wallabies
135 – The number of running metres he made
1 – The number of clean breaks he made
Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 James Horwill, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Rob Horne.
France – 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Hugo Bonneval 10 Remi Tales, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Alexandre Menini.
Subs: 16 Christophe Tolofua, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Nicolas Mas, 19 Bernard Le Roux, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Yannick Nyanga, 22 Maxime Machenaud, 23 Remi Lamerat.
Photo: Mal Fairclough/AFP Photo