Sheens looks ahead with French battle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheens looks ahead with French battle

By Steve Jancetic 05/11/2009 03:24:53 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens concedes Saturday's Four Nations rugby league match is about gearing for the final as well as beating France.

Sheens believes the Australians must get everything they can out of their clash with the winless French to ensure they aren't caught on the hop by England or New Zealand in the final, if they qualify as expected.

He has dangled the carrot of a berth in the squad for Saturday's final in Leeds before some of the more inexperienced players given a run at Stade Charlety in Paris this weekend.

And he says it's just as vital the senior members don't subconsciously ease off because the team still needs to improve.

With England and the Kiwis set for a brutally tough hitout on Saturday as they fight for a spot in decider, the prospect of an easier run into the final has Sheens wary.

"What we have to do is go into that game with the mindset of continuing to work towards the final," Sheens said.

"You have to handle the fact that you're under the pump a bit. We get a bit flustered when it's put to us - that's something we have to address as well.

"The French will come out nice and hard. They're aggressive, they've got a big forward pack.

"They will come out as they did against both (England and New Zealand) and go hard.

"We have to match it. We have to be in the right mindset to match it. And then finish with a strong performance which leads us into the last week.

"You're also looking at your combinations for the final because you've got England and New Zealand, they're going to have a tough game, that's their preparation.

"We've got to be careful that we use this game as preparation as well because we need to get better."

While much of the French side is a bit of a mystery to the Kangaroos, Sheens admits he has been impressed by the play of five-eighth Thomas Bosc and young front rower David Ferriol in the tournament.

Ferriol was the standout performer in the French pack against England in the tournament opener, but missed last week's hammering by New Zealand after being suspended for a high shot England lock Kevin Sinfield.

"They went with England and New Zealand the first half," Sheens said of France's two losses so far this tournament.

"They've got the big front rower coming back, he was playing really well the first game.

"They've got nothing to lose, you've got to respect them.

"You've got to get out and play - you can't be thinking about the week after."

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