France view a drough-breaking road victory over the Wallabies as important to their confidence heading into next year’s Rugby World Cup.
France haven’t beaten the Wallabies on Australian soil in 24 years but Les Bleus are committed to ending the long drought in a key boost ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
And inspirational skipper Thierry Dusautoir believes it may be the under-strength outfit that plays next Saturday’s first Test in Brisbane which has the best chance of an upset.
Dusatoir and coach Phillipe Saint-Andre, speaking for the first time on their three-week tour, both view victory over No.3-ranked Australia as important to their psychology 15 months out from the World Cup.
Saint-Andre was in the last French team to win Down Under, in 1990 against Nick Farr-Jones’ rising world champions, and he said they must rise above the difficulty of touring at the end of a rugged domestic season.
For once the French will tour with their strongest possible squad but they are still hamstrung by their packed calendar ahead of the three-Test series.
Seven of the 31-man tour party remain in France, for this weekend’s Top 14 final between Toulon and Castres, and won’t arrive in Brisbane until Tuesday morning.
In a strong pointer that the six who play in the final will be rested from next Saturday’s opening Test at Suncorp Stadium, Saint-Andre said there would be a big difference between his first and second Test teams.
But flanker Dusautoir disagreed France’s best chances were in the second Test in Melbourne (June 14) and a potential decider in Sydney (June 21).
As well as being less drained, France will have more time together than the Wallabies who won’t start training on the Gold Coast until Monday.
“Maybe it will be easier because we are at the end of the season so maybe the first game we will be more fresh physically,” the captain said. “I see it as a good opportunity.
“It’s been a long time but just winning against Australia is a good motivation for us because it’s the last tour before the World Cup.”
Dusautoir is desperate to see his team do better than last year when they pushed the All Blacks in their June series but ultimately lost 3-0.
“When you beat a top nation like Australia, South Africa or New Zealand you have more confidence,” he said.
“You need to know you can be better than the best nations in the world.”
Saint-Andre confirmed he was looking closely at both veteran playmaker Frederic Michalak, who is still in France but overlooked by Toulon, and halfback Morgan Parra to take the No.10 jersey for the first Test.