Richie McCaw provides inspiration for French ahead of second All Blacks test

Richie McCaw's attitude to winning has been seized on by France ahead of the second test against the All Blacks on Saturday.

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Richie McCaw’s attitude to winning has been seized on by France ahead of the second test against the All Blacks on Saturday.

French flanker Kelian Galletier says he’s taken inspiration from Richie McCaw leading into the second test against the All Blacks.

Galletier, who has come into the French team for the second of their three match series, says the former All Blacks captain has helped inspire him to have a winning attitude and he’ll look to use that Saturday night in Wellington.

“I watched a documentary on Richie McCaw and he said in it all of the time he’s thinking about how he can win,” Galletier said on Thursday.

Kelian Galletier, charging with the ball against England in March, says he draws inspiration from Richie McCaw.

PANORAMIC/PHOTOSPORT

Kelian Galletier, charging with the ball against England in March, says he draws inspiration from Richie McCaw.

“I think psychology is really important in sport. If we believe we can win and take from everything around us, then maybe we can do it.

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Kevin Gourdon is relishing the chance to take on the All Blacks again.

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Kevin Gourdon is relishing the chance to take on the All Blacks again.

“So I believe in that, mentally it’s important to start a game thinking about winning and then do all we can to make that happen.”

For the French, the last weekend’s test is in the past and it’s time to focus on this Saturday.

Remy Grosso is back in France, recovering from a double skull fracture.

Gael Fickou moves into the starting team for France this weekend.

PHOTOSPORT

Gael Fickou moves into the starting team for France this weekend.

Also, the three players unavailable for the first test because the Top 14 final, Galletier, Benjamin Fall and Mathieu Babillot, selected for this weekend, the team have moved on and even taken some confidence from that 52-11 loss.

Not the second half of course, which the All Blacks won 44-0, but the first 40 minutes where the game was a real arm wrestle and they showed they could match New Zealand in intensity and skill.

With those lessons on board, France No 8 Kevin Gourdon says it’s fortunate that this is a three-test series so they can measure themselves on how much improvement they can make. 

“It’s a good opportunity to have these three matches and being able to learn from the previous one,” Gourdon said.

“If you just have one game, you don’t get that second chance to do better, here we have another chance and we’re going to take it.”

The French team decided to wait until Thursday afternoon before heading down to the capital and after the test they’ll return to Auckland and then do another hit and run job for the Dunedin test.

French management felt the weather would be better in Auckland in June and it’s better to have one training base (at QBE Stadium) for the entire tour, rather than change each week.

Around the French team before the Eden Park test, there was the feeling that they were in awe of the All Blacks. Their captain Mathieu Bastareaud even said he wanted Les Bleus to be in fear of them.

This week though there seems to be a bit more belief. 

Possibly this is because Montpelier’s openside flanker Galletier and fullback Benjamin Fall, plus Castres blindside flanker Mathieu Babillot will all be in the starting team. But it is more than just that.

“You can’t go onto the pitch thinking that you’re going to lose,” Gourdon said. 

“There is always a chance to take the match, to win it. The All Blacks don’t have a victory record of 100 per cent!”

While France will hope to be better on Saturday night, it’s the same with the All Blacks, who only really fired once France were down to 14 players on the field.

“They’ll look to be better in the first half,” Gourdon speculated.

“That’s because we performed well on defence and we gave them trouble, so maybe they will be working on that.

“We were consistent in what we did in the first half,” the 28-year-old who plays for La Rochelle added. 

“We were able to score from the few opportunities we had and our defence was good at that time of the game, so with all of that, that’s why we probably did have a good first half.”

However, the issue is whether the French can keep their levels up for 80 minutes this weekend.

In all there are five changes to the French side for the Wellington test. As well as the three players coming into the squad, Gourdon has switched from flanker to No 8 and Gael Fickou takes Grosso’s place on the wing.

France: Benjamin Fall, Teddy Thomas, Mathieu Bastareaud (c), Geoffrey Doumayrou, Gael Fickou, Anthony Belleau, Morgan Parra, Kevin Gourdon, Kelian Galletier, Mathieu Babillot, Yoann Maestri, Bernard Le Roux, Uini Atonio, Camille Chat, Dany Priso. Reserves: Pierre Bougarit, Cyril Baille, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Alexandre Lapandry, Baptiste Serin, Jules Plisson, Maxime Medard.

 – Stuff

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http://stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/104704939/france-ring-changes-for-second-test-against-all-blacks