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5 things to know about the 3rd rugby test between Australia and France

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SYDNEY - With a series win already under its belt, Australia can afford to pay attention both to history and the future in Saturday's third rugby test against France.

The Wallabies and France have met only once before in a three-test series — in 1990 when current head coach Ewen McKenzie was a member of an Australian team that posted a 2-1 win at home. France won the third test of that series 28-9 in Sydney for its most-recent win on Australian soil.

The Wallabies have the chance on Saturday to post their first 3-0 clean sweep over France while carrying momentum into the Rugby Championships.

Five things to know about the third test.


LUCKY NO. 7 — The Wallabies have a chance on Saturday to post their seventh-straight test win, a feat last achieved by an Australian team in the 1999-2000 season. Lock Rob Simmons said the Wallabies players can't ignore the significance of the milestone. "The last Wallabies team to do that won a World Cup," Simmons said. "So if we can get seven in a row, it puts us in good stead going forward. It's a good way to finish the series because we've got a little break from the squad and, if we do get a win, it'll be good to come back on a positive note before playing the All Blacks."

HORNE PIPES UP — Winger Rob Horne has the chance to play his first test under coach Ewen McKenzie after replacing the injured Pat McCabe on the Wallabies bench. McKenzie handed Horne his New South Wales debut at 18 but, now 24, he has received no favours from his former state coach. Horne says he saw the writing on the wall when he missed McKenzie's first Rugby Championships squad. "Missing out on the initial squad was message enough," Horne said. "I went away and worked extremely hard. I'm not feeling vulnerable in my body anymore. I feel like I can contribute throughout the whole game and I feel a lot better for it."

SKELTON NO SURPRISE — Giant lock Nick Skelton will make his test debut for Australia on Saturday and there's no way France will take the newcomer lightly. Coach Philippe Saint-Andre says France is well aware of the threat posed by the 140 kilogram (308 pound) youngster. Saint-Andre has closely followed Skelton's development in Super Rugby. "I saw him. I was very impressed because he looked like a giant," he said. "We know he is strong, powerful and he will bring much more power in the pack."

RECORD FOR DUSAUTOIR — Thierry Dusautoir will set a national record on Saturday when he captains France in a test for the 43rd time. He beats Fabien Pelous' mark of 42 tests in charge and France hope to mark the milestone with a win which would end their 24-year drought in Australia. Coach Philippe Saint-Andre said France had to adjust in the first two tests to the fast pace of southern hemisphere rugby. "It's always like this," he said. "The first test is a big shock for our players because game time in the (French) Top 14 is around 25 to 26 minutes and in internationals it is 38 to 40 minutes."

NO SITTING ON Defence — There may have been a time when being defence coach of an Australian team would have seemed an unrewarding prospect. Wallabies teams have been noted for their focus on attack much more than their attention to defence. But head coach Ewen McKenzie has placed new emphasis on defensive output, especially since Australia conceded three tries per game in last year's Rugby Championships. Defence coach Nick Scrivener says his principles are simple. "I was once told that the best defence tactic is to pick blokes who want to tackle," he said. "We want guys who show commitment and aggression and work rate week to week."

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