French eye chance to end Australia rugby drought
France rugby captain Thierry Dusautoir takes part in the side's first training session at Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane, Australia on May 30, 2014 - by Patrick Hamilton
While the French have selected their strongest possible squad, seven of the 31-man tour party remain in France, for this weekend's Top 14 final between Toulon and Castres.
Those players will not arrive in Brisbane until Tuesday, three days before the first of three Tests against the Wallabies in Brisbane next Saturday (June 7).
Coach Philippe Saint-Andre has indicated that those who play in the final will be rested from the opening Test against the Australia.
Saint-Andre said there would be a big difference between his first and second Test teams.
But flanker Dusautoir disagreed France's best chances were in the second Test in Melbourne (June 14) and a potential decider in Sydney (June 21).
"Maybe it will be easier because we are at the end of the season so maybe the first game we will be more fresh physically," Dusautoir told reporters in Brisbane.
"I see it as a good opportunity. It's been a long time but just winning against Australia is a good motivation for us because it's the last tour before the (2015) World Cup."
Dusautoir said he wants to see his team do better than last year when they pushed the All Blacks in their June series but ultimately lost 3-0.
"When you beat a top nation like Australia, South Africa or New Zealand you have more confidence," he said.
"You need to know you can be better than the best nations in the world."
Saint-Andre said victory over the third-ranked Australia was psychologically important to the French team 15 months out from the World Cup.
Saint-Andre was in the last French team to win Down Under, in 1990 against Nick Farr-Jones' rising world champions, and he said they must rise above the difficulty of touring at the end of a demanding domestic season.
Saint-Andre confirmed he was looking closely at both veteran playmaker Frederic Michalak, who is still in France but overlooked by Toulon, and scrum-half Morgan Parra to take the number 10 jersey for the first Test.