Heaslip sings the praises of Dusautoir and his marauding back-row battlers
WHEN France captain Thierry Dusautoir hits in the tackle he doesn't tend to leave a lot behind, as has been emphasised by his Irish counterpart Jamie Heaslip.
Heaslip waxed lyrical about the attributes of the French blindside flanker, emphasising the respect he clearly has for the Toulouse player.
"He hits hard, he's like a rock," said Heaslip.
"He just picks you out and goes hard at you. He's a very strong carrier. And it's the same with (Louis) Picamoles – he's a big man and hard to stop, especially when he picks up momentum." France's game is built around their ability to win the breakdown and, in Dusautoir, they have the perfect weapon to succeed.
"He's like a tick on the ball around ruck-time, he's just able to get in there and stay on the ball.
"That's a big part of his game, so you've got to try to close down his space.
"He's also quite strong up top, so you have to kind of pick and choose when and how you hit him.
"To take him out, really, you have to target his legs and get him down to the ground. He and Sean O'Brien are quite similar in that regard.
"Sean carries low into contact and if you don't get him perfectly he has this tremendous ability to 'bump' you in the contact," added Heaslip.
The French back-row is completed by Yannick Nyanga, another player Heaslip has a lot of regard for.
"I played against him through all the age groups coming up," he said.
"He's another athletic one, he has a real good change of speed, gets through a lot of work and is a real line-out threat for them as well.
"So, they've all got different elements to their game, but they play quite well with each other and kind of balance each other out as a whole. They get through a lot of work.
"We'll have to be able to match their work rate and beat them, in this regard, as a three.”