Rennie expects Wallabies to be faster, sharper against France

·3-min read
The Wallabies are looking for a fast start in the second Test against France

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has cautioned a new-look France they will meet a sharper, faster Australia in the second Test on Tuesday after admitting their narrow win in the opening clash of the series was "substandard".

An understrength Les Bleus should have clinched the first Test in Brisbane if only they had kicked the ball into touch after the final siren, but instead gifted Australia a turnover and ultimately a penalty under the posts to snatch the game 23-21.

"You've got to cop it on the chin. It was a substandard performance (last week), but I'm happy with the character we showed to fight our way back from 15-0 down and get a result in the end," said Rennie.

Despite their mediocre efforts, just one change has been made to the starting line-up for Melbourne, with big tighthead prop Taniela Tupou, who made an impact off the bench in Brisbane, promoted in place of Allan Alaalatoa.

With veteran playmaker James O'Connor again ruled out injured, the game-day 23 is the same for the first time in consecutive Tests since Rennie took charge last year.

The New Zealander, who is looking for the team to wrap up the series ahead of a return to Brisbane for the final Test on Saturday, said they deserved another chance.

"Seven days ago we thought we picked the right side to play. We lacked accuracy. We gave up some soft points early. We just think there's more in this group and we want to give them another crack."

While keeping faith, he is also adamant they must learn from their mistakes in Brisbane, where too many missed tackles and dropped balls allowed France to race into that 15-0 lead.

"We need to start fast, be more clinical and turn pressure into points at AAMI Park on Tuesday night," he said.

"Confident that we'll be sharper this time. A lack of accuracy and a lack of continuity affected our ability to put the French under pressure (last week)."

- Learning process -

Despite their sloppy finish, France coach Fabien Galthie has retained his entire back line, including rookie fullback Melvyn Jaminet, who made the critical error at the death that cost his team victory.

"These seven players, to varying degrees, did all right. The important thing is that they feel confident," explained Galthie, whose inexperienced squad in Australia is missing a host of regulars due to domestic commitments and injury.

"We decided not to change the half-backs. It's part of the learning process. For a lot of rookie players this is a time of accelerated learning."

But he has rejigged the pack, making five changes with Castres prop Wilfrid Hounkpatin and Stade Francais lock Pierre-Henri Azagoh both coming in to win their first caps.

They are joined by Cameron Woki and Ibrahim Diallo in the back row with Bordeaux-Begles lock Cyril Cazeaux also called up to form a new second-row combination with Azagoh.

"We want to find the right balance between turnover and continuity," added Galthie, who is looking to steer France to their first win on Australian soil since 1990.

Australia (15-1)

Tom Banks; Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Matt To'omua, Marika Koroibete; Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon; Harry Wilson, Michael Hooper (capt), Rob Valetini; Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Matt Philip; Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway

France (15-1)

Melvyn Jaminet; Damian Penaud, Arthur Vincent, Jonathan Danty, Gabin Villiere; Louis Carbonel, Baptiste Couilloud; Anthony Jelonch (captain), Cameron Woki, Ibrahim Diallo, Cyril Cazeaux, Pierre-Henri Azagoh, Wilfrid Hounkpatin, Gaetan Barlot, Jean-Baptiste Gros

Replacements: Anthony Etrillard, Enzo Forletta, Demba Bamba, Killian Geraci, Romain Taofifenua, Sekou Macalou, Teddy Iribaren, Anthony Bouthier

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