French can derail All Blacks machine, says Ibanez

3rd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 October 2007, CARDIFF (AFP) - French skipper Raphael Ibanez, one of four survivors from his team's epic 1999 World Cup win over the All Blacks, believes France can again tamper successfully with New Zealand's well-oiled machinery in Saturday's quarter-final.

3 October 2007

CARDIFF (AFP) - French skipper Raphael Ibanez, one of four survivors from his team's epic 1999 World Cup win over the All Blacks, believes France can again tamper successfully with New Zealand's well-oiled machinery in Saturday's quarter-final.

Veteran hooker Ibanez played in the 43-31 win over the All Blacks at Twickenham eight years ago along with current squad members Fabien Pelous, Christophe Dominici and Pieter De Villiers.

"We know they're very confident but you can knock their machine out of synch; throw some sand into the gearbox," said Ibanez.

"When that happens their beliefs can turn into doubts.

Le XV de france

"They have world-class players in lots of positions. All their players are very strong, which makes our task harder. But a match of rugby is never won or lost until you've played it - and believe me, we're really going to play this match."

Coach Bernard Laporte will spend a great deal of the next three days hammering home the message that the All Blacks can be beaten.

"They're not supermen. They've got flaws," said Laporte whose side were humiliated 61-10 when the two sides last met in Wellington three months ago.

"We are going to analyse the videos of the two matches we lost to them at Lyon and Paris last year. We are going to watch the Tri Nations matches in which they struggled against Australia and South Africa. We are going to try to detect the cracks.

"We're getting ready to play the strongest team in the world. You can't hide from the fact, but we're neither worried nor resigned to our fate."

The coach has seen his team bounce back from a shock 17-12 defeat to Argentina in the opening game of this tournament to move into the last eight with a morale-boosting win over Ireland.

However, that defeat to the Pumas condemned France to the runners-up place in their pool while group winners Argentina finished top and will face Scotland in their quarter-final.

"We all pulled together after the Argentina match. We knew it would only get more difficult," said Laporte.

"I sense a great motivation, a great determination amongst the players."

AFP

Subject: French news

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