Australian Rugby
Deans targets France Test
ESPN Staff
November 3, 2012
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans raises a smile, Australia training session, Ospreys training ground, Llandarcy, Swansea, Wales, December 1, 2011
Robbie Deans is aiming to lead Australia to an unbeaten European tour for the first time since 1996 © Getty Images
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Australia coach Robbie Deans believes it is vitally important that his team make a strong start to their autumn Test series against France in Paris.

It is the first time that the two sides have met since Australia ran riot and scored seven tries to win 59-16 at the Stade de France at the end of their 2010 northern hemisphere tour. The Wallabies follow their opening match with Tests against England, Italy and Wales, but Deans is in no doubt that the tone for the tour will be set by the match against Philippe Saint-Andre's France side on November 10.

"The first one is key for us," Deans told reporters at Sydney Airport. "The French have already expressed how important it is to them. We're playing on the Armistice weekend, so history suggests they will play out of their skins on that basis. And it's our first outing so it's very important that we get off to a good start. If we do, it will be a real fillip for the group."

The fact that the autumn internationals are the final chance for teams to move into the top four of the International Rugby Board rankings is a factor that all teams are aware of. The leading four sides will be the top seeds when the draw is made for the 2015 World Cup in December. Australia are currently second in the rankings, behind New Zealand, but ahead of South Africa and England.

Even though the 2015 Rugby World will be in the backs of their minds, Deans admits that they will be more focused on finishing the tour undefeated. If they do it will be the first time that the Wallabies have gone through their European tour without defeat since 1996.

"Seedings are important, but no more so than the fact they are Test matches," Deans said. "That's the by-product - we won't be dwelling on that fact. In the background, I guess we're conscious of the fact it's an important stretch. It doesn't happen very often," Deans said. "That's obviously what we aspire to - we'll enter every Test looking to win it."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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