Planet Rugby

Mortlock wary of Bastareaud

12th June 2014 10:19

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France centre Mathieu Bastareaud in the gym

Powerful: Mathieu Bastareaud

Former captain Stirling Mortlock has warned the Wallabies about the threat posed by Mathieu Bastareaud ahead of their second Test against France.

The powerful midfielder, who returns to Les Bleus' XV this weekend alongside the likes of Thierry Dusautoir and Brice Dulin, is a wrecking ball.

And that's led to the now retired Mortlock sounding the alarm in the home side's camp to be on their guard when they run out at Docklands Stadium.

"He's one of the most physically dominant gain-line yardage makers in world rugby...and with Wesley Fofana at inside-centre they will be a totally different midfield and a significantly tougher job to mark," Mortlock said about the strength Bastareaud has in midfield ahead of Saturday.

"They (France) will be looking to feed off his (Bastareaud's) ascendency through the midfield.

"It's a tough task for our midfield defensively but hopefully we don't give him too much time and space."

France were well off the pace in last week's opener as they went down 50-23 and have subsequently made wholesale changes to their XV. In comes a new half-back pairing of Morgan Parra and Rémi Talès, with Australia coach Ewen McKenzie expecting a response.

"France is one of the few one teams in the world who can make a lot of changes and still turn things around quickly in one week," McKenzie said.

"They never stay down for long and will be using the disappointment of the opening Test to motivate them for the second game."

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