x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Wallabies will not be fooled

Australia will not be lulled into a false sense of security against a France side pleading fatigue ahead of this morning's Test at the Olympic stadium.

Australia will not be lulled into a false sense of security against a France side pleading fatigue ahead of this morning's Test at the Olympic stadium. The French have spent the past few days publicly playing down their chances of winning the match, saying they were tired after a long season in Europe then back-to-back tests in New Zealand. However, the Australians have dismissed the French claims as gamesmanship, saying they were on full alert for a tough battle.

"I actually think they're more dangerous because of the fact it's their last game of the season," said Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock. "They've come Down Under knowing full well they had three Test matches in front of them and they were looking forward to hopefully doing well. They come here to play us tomorrow night with nothing to lose, everything to gain and they've got a good lay-off after this, so they're going to throw everything into this game."

Meanwhile, Graham Henry, the New Zealand head coach, has prepared his side for a ferocious battle up front with Italy in Christchurch this morning. "We think it's going to be a hell of a hard Test," said Henry who confirmed that Ali Williams will miss the Tri Nations series. "The Italian forwards gave the Aussies a bit of a run-around, particularly at scrum time." Sergio Parisse, the Italy captain, believes the first quarter of the match is vital.

"The key for Italy is the first 20 minutes - not to concede a try, don't miss tackles and don't give confidence to the New Zealand team," he said. "We have to put them under pressure. If we are able to do that maybe we can be competitive for 80 minutes. "It's important that we don't concede 60 or 70 points." * Reuters