France v Wallabies
6 Nov 2005
Marseille's Stade Vèlodrome
Referee: Paul Honiss
Fulltime: France 26 def Wallabies 16
Halftime: France 10 lead Wallabies 9
Well done to the French side, a competent dominating display around the park and the sublime running and control that allowed Frederik Michalak to dominate attack with his Toulouse team mates Yannick Jauzion, C%uFFFDdric Heymans and Yannick Nyanga set the Fench side up for a well deserved win over the rotting corpse of wallaby tactics.
One could argue that the French did have 16 men on at all times with Paul Honiss shutting down many options in attack by acting as an offside defensive pillar. You can tell that Gregan just doesn't have the spark of old as 5 years ago he would have been verbally tearing Honiss a new one over the number of times he got in the road.
But overall the French domination in the scrum and more inventive attack and quality defence especially at the breakdown allowed the French to control large stages of the match. By adopting a rushing defensive line, the French were able to disrupt a lot of the wallaby backline play that was being directed by Giteau.
One could argue that the French side has firebombed the wallaby rugby and laid the platform for a generational change to take place. After the first loss on tour it's now essential that the young players get blooded. The best bet is to choose players that haven't been corrupted by Chucky's influence.
Australia needs to gamble now on new players now and give them the chance to develop at the coal face especially with the forward pack. Tatafu Polota-Nau (hooker) and Greg Holmes (prop) both need to start although both players are still raw they aren't going to find many better schools of hard knocks than against the NH forward packs. Throw them in and see if they sink or swim. Hugh McMeniman might find himself at no 6. for the next test as well.
Gregan has to go as he now has the test playing record (should be passed by the French skipper anyway who controls his forward pack well), Australia can not continue to afford to carry this individual who has lost the passion and is playing for the pay check. Whitaker needs to start as he brings control, confidence and best of all options in attack and it should be his chance to shine and develop Henjack as his replacement after the RWC.
I have said it before but Giteau isn't a 5/8 as he needs far more space to operate in. While Rogers is currently offering far more at 5/8 than Giteau is so he needs to get the ball in his hands at pivot.
By the way can someone tell me how the hell did Tirinui get named as a VC for ####sake. Anyone else can fill this spot.
Mitchell is one hell of a runner, he touches the ball and you have the feeling that something special is about to happen. While Johansson's first touch opened up the backline, apparently he did it all game against the French Baa Baas, although he forgot to hold onto the ball he had more impact in 5 seconds than Tirinui had all game. Sheppard needs to get some quality time to develop as the kid has some great potential and offers a lot of kicking options.
I see the backline in the following format:
Backline: 9: Whitaker, 10: Rogers, 11: Mitchell, 12: Johansson, 13: Tuqiri, 14: Sheppard, 15: Latham.
This would allow Giteau to go to the bench and come on with 20 to go when there is more space available or to IC. Henjack and Sailor to the bench and Silor would offer far more in a direct line attack at a tired defence.