Keo.co.za brings you updates from Australia’s year end tour.
Genia, O’Connor bolster Wallabies - Will Genia and winger James O’Connor are the only changes to the Wallabies’ starting XV for the Test against France at the Stade de France on Saturday.
Genia missed the Test against Italy with a rib injury while O’Connor attended the funeral of a close friend in Perth.
Australia - 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Subs: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Mark Chisholm, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Matt Giteau, 22 Lachie Turner.
France go high-tech - France have been scrumming against a state-of-the-art machine in preparation for their Test against Australia.
The machine, housed at the team’s training base outside Paris, can simulate every set piece imaginable, even to the extent of re-enacting collapsed scrums. The R2 million scrum simulator is able to take on the characteristics of an opposition Test scrum, and allows France to bore in on the props and hookers at varying angles.
France’s forwards coach Didier Retiere said the original reason for building was for safety, but explained that it has become a vital part of their preparation.
‘There were concerns as that so many didn’t know exactly what was happening in the scrum, it was important to create a machine that could give us more important information,’ he said. ‘After many meetings with medical professors, we built a machine which can simulate any scrum, including the torque involved, the pushing and the impact when the two front rows engage, which is sometimes in the 1400-kilogram range.
‘We can use it in such a way that the front-row actually collapses, so that the non-expert players learn how to react to that. You can even make the machine react to what different opposition front-rowers do.’
While Retiere admitted that they see the Wallabies’ scrum as a weakness, he said the it would not be an all consuming focal point.
‘It would be a big mistake if we just focused on their scrum,’ he said. ‘Maybe Australia don’t have a very good scrum, but they never lose any ball on their own feed. Their whole game is very challenging … the big difference between France and Australia is that you have good rugby players and you make them into props, whereas we have props and try to make them into good rugby players.’