Wallabies won't struggle with 'old laws' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies won't struggle with 'old laws'

By Darren Walton 25/06/2008 03:41:53 PM Comments (0)

Champion flanker George Smith has rejected claims from the French that the Wallabies will struggle to cope under the old laws in Saturday night's Test at ANZ Stadium.

French lock Sebastien Chabal believes the Wallabies will find it difficult to adjust having spent the Super 14 season playing under the Experimental Law Variations (ELVS), which will also be used during the Tri Nations tournament featuring Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Chabal, one of only three members of France's World Cup semi-final side to make the trip to Australia, is not happy about rugby's powerbrokers continuing to tinker with the game's rules but felt playing under the old laws on Saturday would at least favour the tourists.

"I don't know if it will help (the Wallabies). It will be a bit messy, I think, in the head because they play for one year with some rules. Now they have to come back with the old rules," Chabal said.

"There is not many differences but there are still some differences, so I think it's better for us than them.

"But I can't understand why we try to change every year some rules. I don't know."

Smith, Australia's reigning Super 14 player of the year, and coach Robbie Deans both admit the Wallabies did struggle under the old laws in their first Test of the season two weeks against Ireland in Melbourne.

"It's probably fair the intensity around the collision and the immediacy of that contact we probably grappled with and, hence, we struggled a little bit around the breakdown," Deans said.

"We've pushed on and tried to make some progress this week. We still haven't got to the level where we need to be."

Smith, though, didn't believe playing under the old laws would disadvantage the Wallabies this time around - or, more specifically, favour the French.

"I don't think there's any confusion," he said.

"I guess there was an area last week in that breakdown where (Wallabies halfback) Luke (Burgess) got, I guess, monstered in that area.

"But we've worked through the areas that we need to improve and the set piece has been a good part of our play against the Irish, so we'll continue to work on that."

More of a concern for Smith was keeping Chabal in check.

The bearded Frenchman has a reputation for being one of the most destructive players in the world - in both attack and defence.

Just ask All Blacks forward Ali Williams, who was hospitalised after coming off second best in a collision with Chabal during a Test in New Zealand last year.

"He's a player that inspires the French team," Smith said.

"He's a very emotional player out there, so if we can nullify him - and also the other players on the team - I'm sure we'll have a good performance on the weekend."

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