Kangaroos the team to beat: France coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos the team to beat: France coach

By Steve Jancetic 08/11/2009 06:15:08 PM Comments (0)

France coach Bobby Goulding nominated Australia as the team to beat in the Four Nations final, claiming the Kangaroos had several gears left in them following their 42-4 win in Paris.

The Kangaroos struggled to put the French away in the last of their preliminary games at Stade Chaterly, but the ragged performance wasn't enough to stop Goulding from singing their praises post match ahead of next week's final against England.

"I think they've got about four or five more levels to go," Goulding said.

"I don't think the balls stuck for them in the first half which I was really pleased with - thanks to (Australian coach) Tim Sheens for that.

"On their day I think any one of them can win, but for me I think Australia.

"I really think they've got a few more levels to go."

Sheens said had yet to work out exactly which squad he would take in the final, with positions on the bench the most wide open.

Backrowers Ryan Hoffman and Sam Thaiday gave a better account of themselves than they did against new Zealand in the tournament opener, while the battle between Kurt Gidley, Robbie Farah and Cooper Cronk for the back-up playmaker role looks far from resolved.

"I'd rather have a tough decision than not ... I've got 24 players to pick from," Sheens said.

"I've played them all, I've had a look at them all - now I've just got to come up with the right combination.

"The bench will be an important mix too - who gets that and covering all positions - being able to cover the positions as well as maybe have a match-winner if needed."

While the French won't get the opportunity to build on their efforts at next year's Four Nations in Australia - with Papua New Guinea to join Australia, England and New Zealand in contesting next year's event - Goulding said he was pleased with the progress his side had made

"If you have a look back in June or July when we played England, we got absolutely smashed all over the field in Paris and we didn't today.

"This is only the start.

"We know how far we have to go compete on a regular basis with England, New Zealand and Australia, but at the end of my three-year reign, judge me then. I want to get France back up to No.4 in the world.

"It's going to be difficult, but I think we can get there."

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