Summer Internationals: Australia captain Michael Hooper expects French backlash

Last Updated: 13/06/14 9:44am

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Michael Hooper says Australia are expecting a French backlash in Saturday’s second Test in Melbourne.

Les Bleus have made 10 changes from the side that suffered a 50-23 thumping in Brisbane last week, which includes the return of captain Thierry Dusautoir.

Hooper, who will skipper the Wallabies after Stephen Moore suffered a serious knee injury in the first Test, says they are braced for a fiery French reaction.

"They're one team who can have a shake up like that and still turn around and be a better team the next weekend," said Hooper.

"We're aware of the challenge they bring and Dusautoir is obviously the leader of that forward pack and will be at the forefront and I'm sure bring a lot of passion."

Hooper said France's 8-7 loss in the 2011 World Cup final to New Zealand showed what sort of influence Dusautoir has on his team.

"He's obviously a class player," said the flanker. "As a No 7, you want to play these guys and play the best in the world.

“He has been at the helm for France for a few years now and is a really tough competitor. We've been preparing for that this week."

Disappointment

France haven’t won in Australia for 24 years while Dusautoir is yet to savour victory against the Wallabies in three starts.

"The aim this week was above all to get over the loss,” said the Toulouse back row. “We have to get over the disappointment because shipping 50 points is tough mentally.

"We have to say that there are two matches left to sort it out, not everyone has that chance.

"If we lose this weekend we will have lost the series, so the stakes are very high. Victory in the southern hemisphere would be exceptional for us."
Thierry Dusautoir

"In 2010 we lost by almost 60 points (59-16 in Paris) and that was the end of Australia's (European) tour.

"We have to take advantage of this and not see coming to play in Australia as a punishment."

Dusautoir said his team wanted to redeem themselves and set up a series decider in the third and final Test in Sydney.

"Above all we want to show a different side. The Australians were at 100 per cent of their potential but I don't think we were," he said.

"We made it easier for them in the build up to some of their tries. We want to leave the pitch and say we did the very best we can. The players are up for it and aware we have to play a big match.

"If we lose this weekend we will have lost the series, so the stakes are very high.

"Victory in the southern hemisphere would be exceptional for us. Beating the Australians in their backyard would be a victory to build on.”

Watch Australia v France live on Sky Sports 1 on Saturday from 11am

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