Australia clash a step up for France

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 19:44
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: France's clash with Australia at the Stade de France on Saturday will be a key test of coach Guy Noves's team-building, captain Guilhem Guirado warned.

Noves, 62, makes five changes to the team which thrashed Samoa 52-8 a week ago, but Toulon hooker Guirado said that playing the Wallabies would be a wholly different proposition.

"This is a pivotal match, which in addition is against one of the top three teams in the world," said the 44-times capped Guirado.

"It's going to be different from what we came up against last Saturday night, without any disrespect to the Samoans. 

"Australia have a lot more collective experience than Samoa. We know it's going to be of another calibre."

Australia are coming off back-to-back wins against Wales and Scotland, and Guirado said: "They had a complicated start to the Four Nations [Rugby Championship], but they got back to work and finished well and above all got a good start to this European tour.

"So we know it's going to be a big-calibre team, even if they have made a lot of changes, it's going to sting.

"I'm lucky enough to rub shoulders in Toulon with Australians [Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Liam Gill], so we know they're very strong," said Guirado, who also played last season with Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper.

"He [Cooper] was always impressive with his work ethic and commitment. We know that he's a fantastic player, but our focus will not be on individual players, but the collective."

France next play New Zealand in Paris on November 26 for the first time since they were humiliated 13-62 at the World Cup in 2015.

Toulouse legend Noves took over after the World Cup in November 2015.

Agence France-Presse