France v Australia, Stade de France, November 27
Wallabies out to protect Cooper
November 25, 2010
David Pocock believes that Australia can protect Quade Cooper © Getty Images
Australia flanker David Pocock is expecting the French back-row to throw everything at Quade Cooper when the sides go head-to-head in Paris on Saturday.
France boss Marc Lievremont is hoping that openside Fulgence Ouedraogo will make inroads into Cooper's shaky defence at the Stade de France but Pocock believes that the Wallabies can look after their star playmaker.
"Quadey's been under a fair bit of heat all year and I think a lot more teams are going to start targeting him," he told AAP. "When that happens it's an opportunity for other guys to step up, take a bit of pressure off him.
"As forwards we'll have to be pretty smart about the way we play and the way we protect him."
Cooper turned in an improved shift against Italy in Florence last weekend, having come under pressure against a resurgent England at Twickenham two weeks ago.
Lievremont is hoping to disrupt Australia's flow in order to secure a big scalp, with France themselves having failed to set the world alight since winning a Six Nations Grand Slam back in March. So far this November they have seen off Fiji and Argentina but are yet to hit top gear.
"We have several key players out injured, a new No.10 [Damien Traille] ... that already is a lot," he told AFP. "The essential thing is that we remain convinced of the quality and potential of the squad, that we are satisfied with the effort of the players, that there is a certain amount of progress.
"And above all that our plans are accepted and put into practice by the players. Obviously that is everything one could ask for without it being a perfect finished article."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success