Another gutsy defensive effort will give the Wallabies the chance to ‘eye-ball’ each other and feel a sense of pride, coach Michael Cheika says.
The Wallabies faced a barrage of French attack in the closing stages, but their defence hung tight for the second week in a row, despite a swathe of changes.
Cheika laid down a challenge to his players ahead of the game after the French media tagged this lineup ‘Equipe Bis’ or the B-team and said that answered it
“The team selection was made with the knowledge that obviously when a player steps inside a gold jersey, he knows who he has to be and we’ve been working really hard on that this year with a new group of players and that’s all I wanted them to do tonight.,” Cheika said.
“Whether they were labelled as the ‘Equipe Bis’ or not or the first team, I was just really proud of the effort.
“We made some mistakes as well but I feel like there was a lot of commitment there from our lads.
“That gives them the opportunity to eye-ball each other in the dressing room after the game and say, ‘You know what? I did my job and I can look at my teammate straight in the eye’ and that is all there is to it.”
“That gives them the opportunity to eye-ball each other in the dressing room after the game and say, ‘You know what? I did my job." - Michael Cheika
France coach Guy Noves expressed his frustration after the game with the slow start his team had, saying he was ‘bored’ in the first 40 minutes.
“[The most] frustrating [thing] is it took first half to get going, I was really bored in the first half and the match only became beautiful in the second half,” he said.
“We were lucky to wear the jersey and be there on the pitch so I told my guys if you do nothing during the first half it’s not worthwhile.
“There is a lot of frustration because I feel we could have won and the first half does not pay tribute to the work that has been going into the preparation.”
The Wallabies team had a late shakeup with the withdrawal of Quade Cooper from the starting lineup, Bernard Foley taking the starting spot at No.10.
Cheika dismissed a suggestion that the late withdrawal of Quade Cooper was a ruse, when asked if the elevation of Bernard Foley to the starting team was a ‘good communication strategy’.
“Why would I hide playing Bernard Foley? I’ve never done that before,” he said.
“I wanted Quade to play, I’m being honest. He was obviously desperate to play and he asked me to leave it as late as I could." - Michael Cheika
“I wanted Quade to play, I’m being honest. He was obviously desperate to play and he asked me to leave it as late as I could.
“Normally we probably wouldn’t but because of the way the tour is and how we’re looking to give everyone an opportunity I made that decision.”
Some of the Wallabies squad will head to Dublin on Sunday, with the rest travelling to Bordeaux for a midweek match against the French Barbarians.