France wary of English power

7th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

7 October 2007, CARDIFF (AFP) - France team manager Jo Maso has warned his team to be on red alert against an English backlash when the two bitter rivals clash in the World Cup semi-finals.

7 October 2007

CARDIFF (AFP) - France team manager Jo Maso has warned his team to be on red alert against an English backlash when the two bitter rivals clash in the World Cup semi-finals.

France stunned tournament favourites New Zealand 20-18 at the Millennium Stadium here on Saturday while England, the defending champions, also enjoyed a shock victory beating Australia 12-10 in Marseille.

Although Maso knows his team have the advantage of playing the semi-final at their Stade de France home, he is also aware that England are keen for revenge after Brian Ashton's team lost both of their World Cup warm-up games in August.

"We will prepare for the semi-final against England with a lot of humility because they will want to avenge those two defeats," said Maso.

France won 22-9 in Marseille and 21-15 at Twickenham while the last time the two met in Paris, the French romped to a 31-6 win in the Six Nations in 2006.

Maso admitted, however, that his team owed a little of their victory to England.

"We saw from the England match that rugby starts with the scrum and the will to succeed," said Maso.

"We had leaders out there tonight who were ready to die on the pitch. This was a great win by the French team but it wasn't a final, just a quarter-final. There is still work to do."

France coach Bernard Laporte said he was looking forward to locking horns with England again and was prepared for another tight battle.

"It's not going to be easy. We know England. They have a good team. We have to get possession," said Laporte ahead of the game which will be a repeat of the 2003 semi-final.

"They are a great side who didn't beat Australia by chance. I haven't forgotten that they beat us in the Six Nations this year, so we have a lot of respect for them."

Laporte also believes that the English national side is reaping the dividends of having a tough and competitive domestic league structure.

"Their clubs are at a very high level," said the coach.

"Look at Wasps, they are the European champions.

"Tonight we have beaten what you can call the best side in the world. But now we have to concentrate on the semi-finals."

AFP

Subject: French news

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