French may wilt in the wet

Flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc admits that rain will not suit the mobility of the French forwards.

While it looks as if it will be partly cloudy with no rain on Saturday, if the weather does worsen, the visitors could struggle against the big Bok pack.

‘Rain will favor the Springboks, but we will adapt to conditions,’ said Trinh-Duc. ‘If our plans are ill suited to the conditions we will have to find solutions on the field. But this is similar to adjusting to a defensive pattern – it is part of the game.’

The forwards’ discrepancy is most evident in the back row, where Pierre Spies, Francois Louw and Schalk Burger outweigh their counterparts (Julien Bonnaire, Wenceslas Lauret and Thierry Dusautoir) by an average of just over 16kg.

Given their forward ascendancy and Morne Steyn’s boot, it is hard not to favor the Boks in such conditions. Trinh-Duc, though, is paying little attention to these ominous rumblings.

‘I can only concentrate on my tactical kicking,’ he told ‘Morne Steyn’s will be countered through collective organisation, particularly in the back three – their concern will be to cover the deep ground and limit his impact.’

With scrumhalf Morgan Parra handling the goal-kicking duties, Trinh-Duc won’t have to compete with Steyn in that area of the game.

‘The flyhalf is more than just a boot in the modern game,’ he said. ‘My role is as an organiser – we must be efficient on defence and ensure the Springboks do not cross the advantage line, and our attack needs to be fluent.’

There has been talk about the French backline’s capacity to penetrate the Boks after centres Mathieu Bastareaud and Yannick Jauzion were ruled out, but Trinh-Duc insists their replacements are more than capable.

‘[Maxime Mermoz and David Marty] are good centres – we will keep the same objective and play good front-foot ball.’

By Rory Keohane