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France want better scrum

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Sportal.co.nz     15 Jun 2013     Getty Images

While France had taken on the home team at the breakdown in the first Test, the All Blacks had blunted the French efficiency at the scrum especially, so they wanted to improve in the set piece while maintaining any edge they achieved at the breakdown.

France have been putting the emphasis on improving their scrum for the second Test.

Captain Thierry Dusautoir said the lineout had also come in for scrutiny and he was hopeful better performances in those set pieces would help France up their effort from the first Test.

Dusautoir said he wasn't concerned the All Blacks hadn't changed their side, in spite of the fact they were able to call on experienced players who were over injury.

"We want to be able to play a better game because we are expecting a victory," he said. "I know it is going to be very hard but I think we have the capacity to do it."

Dusautoir said the side's success at the breakdown had been the key to their performance in extending the All Blacks.

"It would be nice to try and do the same but now they are aware I am not sure they will allow us to play so well again," he said.

Dusautoir felt the drafting of more experience into the French side, especially prop Nicolas Mas, might instil more confidence in the team.

"I don't think last week's side played so badly, it is just that we have had problems with our scrum and we didn't take our opportunities and I hope we will be more efficient tomorrow," he said.

Forwards coach Yannick Bru said France had to improve the accuracy of their set piece.

"Last week our scrum was really poor and we were not clever enough. I think the influence of the first scrum had a bad influence on the psychology of the referee [Wayne Barnes] for the rest of the game.

"We will try to be much more disciplined in the scrum, we will try and compete with the speed and accuracy of the New Zealand forwards, particularly in the scrum," he said.

Bru said the French were aware of issues over New Zealand prop Wyatt Crockett's scrummaging, but he said he was a tall man and sometimes it happened that Crockett had to put his hand on the ground, but sometimes when it happens the referee doesn't see that.

"Every week is different, especially when we speak about scrums. I hope we will do better than last week but I don't want to speak about Wyatt Crockett, or guys from the All Blacks, I just know that we have to improve on last week," he said.

Mas' inclusion would improve the confidence of the side but Mas alone would not make the difference, Bru said. It was a matter of the treating the referee's calls with respect and showing the necessary discipline.

"I hope with better organisation, and Nicolas Mas, we can compete against New Zealand," Bru said.

He would like to have seen Wayne Barnes have another game because he understood he was disappointed with his rulings at a couple of scrums. However, referees were part of the game and the French had not helped their cause with the poor first scrum.

"Referees are human beings and he has never done any scrummaging in his life so he tried to understand what was happening in the game and when he saw such a silly pack on the first scrum I think that influenced his judgment on the other scrums," he said.

The inability to get time together was one of the biggest handicaps for the side in preparing its game plan.

"We have had one more week together so we will have a more accuracy that last week in all parts of the game but I don't forget that the All Blacks will have more accuracy too so the game will be closer than last week," he said.

"We knew that one of the strengths of New Zealand was the ball recovery and they scored two tries from that sort of ball so we are aware that the danger of New Zealand is permanent at the breakdown.

"I know that even with only seven days between games it could be much more different at the breakdown," he said.