France

Cummins keen to close out French

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 12:33
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Blokes are lining up and running as hard as they can
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After the hammering received at the hands of the Wallabies, the French are the type of team that will ferociously bounce back warns the Honey Badger.
 
The French team have made a staggering 10 changes to their line up with the bigger stars slotting into their usual positions.
 
For Ewen McKenzie’s men this can only mean a storm is brewing as both teams prepare for their second encounter at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Saturday.
 
Wallabies winger Nick Cummins is far from complacent having seen what the French are capable of in the first 15 minutes of the Brisbane Test.
 
Cummins said the Wallabies expect France will try to emulate their fast, aggressive and potent start again this week and they certainly don’t expect them to lose their gusto as they did in Brisbane.
 
For the Honey Badger it is about more than 'weathering the storm' in the beginning of the match and matching Les Blues for intensity from the kick-off.
 
Cummins believes the team that begins poorly will be the one that is left picking up the pieces when the final whistle blows.
 
"That storm usually lasts a good 20 minutes or more. But you can’t just go out there to weather it," Cummins said.
 
"You have to go out and meet them with the same, if not more, just to offset the impact.
 
"We know it’s coming. Obviously it can go any way in that first 20 minutes. It’s a real battle.
 
"There is a lot of pressure at that point in the game, and That’s when blokes are lining up and running as hard as they can. 
 
"Like any team off the back off a loss, they get ridden hard at training, won’t want to go through that again, and will rip in."
 
Cummins said the Wallabies have worked hard this week on tightening their defence in expectation of what the French may dish out, especially against their prowess in off-loading in contact.
 
"It’s pretty crucial, because they’re quite nippy on their feet, particularly their backs," Cummins said. 
 
"Bringing them down the right way so they can’t get those off-loads they are so good at is going to be crucial for us."
 
Cummins expects the French to rely heavily on their off-loading style, especially if they run more directly at the Wallabies, as is expected with their changes.
 
"It seems to be something they have done pretty much in all their games," he said.
 
"It seems to be their mode of play. They’re effective at it and they get a lot of metres from it. They can scare some good teams."
 
It is an area of the game Cummins knows he will have to address when he again confronts French winger Yohann Huget.
 
"He likes to get that half-gap through, hold them off, then off-load, and then he ends up scoring the try 50 metres down the field."
 
Cummins said the Wallabies, who are chasing their sixth win in a row, are reaping the benefits of continuity in selection. 
 
"You get synergy with certain players because you know where they’re going to run and where they’re going to be," he said.
 
"Sometimes I did certain switches with Israel Folau, and it happened on the weekend.
 
"I just knew what he would be doing and I knew where he would be. Little things like that develop as blokes are selected in the same team repeatedly."
 
Cummins believes the Wallabies are becoming more proactive and less afraid about making mistakes under coach Ewen McKenzie.
 
"I would agree with that – it seems to feel that way," the winger said.
 
"If something goes down at training and you’re a bit rattled about it, at lunch he [McKenzie] might go, ‘How are you going?’ and you say, ‘Yeah, good, I’m just a bit filthy. I dropped that ball’.
 
"And he goes, ‘That’s all right. You flush that.’ He goes, ‘You’re here for a reason. You’re better than that. We believe in you. So flush that and keep going’.
 
"He’s not just waiting for you to stuff up."
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