Wallabies fooled no one in lucky France win – they must improve

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Australia coach Dave Rennie will be keen to see a more assured Wallabies performance in the second Test against France. Pic: Getty
Australia coach Dave Rennie will be keen to see a more assured Wallabies performance in the second Test against France. Pic: Getty

Australia's late, late, late first Test victory over France fooled no one.

The Wallabies didn't lead the game until it won the game, Noah Lolesio's 84th minute penalty goal sealing victory after Les Bleus butchered a match that was easier to win than lose.

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The second best side won but they don’t hand out silver medals in Test rugby.

After just one win from six last year, Australia coach Dave Rennie was happy to accept a gift-wrapped victory but called the performance "sub-standard".

He was being kind.

Rennie's kept faith with the same squad for Tuesday night's second eToro Test in Melbourne but will give Taniela Tupou his chance from the opening whistle, and bench fellow tight-head Allan Alaalatoa in a role reversal.

Tupou was dynamic off the bench in Brisbane but it remains to be seen if he can have the same impact when starting a game.

"Togan Thor" is 26 Tests into his career and an undoubted talent, but still remains primarily a bench player.

Tuesday night will be just his seventh appearance in the starting line-up.

Taniela openly admits he's been his own worst enemy as far keeping the weight off, and doing the extra little things required to be the complete Test player Australia needs him to be.  

He is symptomatic of the work-in-progress sign draped around the neck of many in this Australian side. 

Opportunity for Wallaby stars to stamp their claims

Rennie will also demand more from scrum half Jake Gordon, who has the impressive Tate McDermott breathing down his neck, and wants to see a better defensive effort from his side after a number of first-up tackles were missed in Brisbane.

He's also ordered his team to do away with the negative kicking and put the French, who have made five changes, under greater pressure.

Seen here, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper trains ahead of his side's second Test against France.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper prepares for his side's second Test against France. Pic: Getty

"We've got so much more in us. We want to improve significantly this week across the board and hurt these guys," skipper Michael Hooper insisted. 

"We've got to back our skill set to get there and we think we can do some damage to these guys."

Rennie obviously agrees.

He has effectively given a number of under-performing players a leave pass for that first Test performance, putting the Wallabies' many mistakes and poor option taking down to ring rust.

He won't be so forgiving if the Wallabies are pushed to the edge of the cliff again or lose.

Wallabies team to play France in second Test 

1. James Slipper 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa 3. Taniela Tupou 4. Matt Philip 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 6. Rob Valetini 7. Michael Hooper (c) 8. Harry Wilson 9. Jake Gordon 10. Noah Lolesio 11. Marika Koroibete 12. Matt To’omua 13. Hunter Paisami 14. Tom Wright 15. Tom Banks


16. Lachlan Lonergan 17. Angus Bell 18. Allan Alaalatoa 19. Darcy Swain 20. Isi Naisarani 21. Tate McDermott 22. Len Ikitau 23. Andrew Kellaway

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

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