France badly need convincing display to quieten their critics
Published 17/09/2011 | 05:00
France need a commanding performance against Canada to stop any doubt setting in after their sloppy opening win over Japan roused the ire of the critics at home and abroad.
But the challenge posed by a physical and powerful Canada team is likely to be just as difficult as it was against fleet-footed Japan.
"They know how to play, they're not just content with defending," said back-row Imanol Harinordoquy. "As soon as there's a loose ball they like to counter-attack."
France have easily won their previous three Tests against Canada -- 50-6 in 2005, 47-13 in '04 and 35-3 in '02.
But the World Cup seems to inspire the Canadians, and France won their two contests at this tournament by far tighter margins -- 19-13 in 1991 and 33-20 in '99.
Many of the French players can't wait to be reacquainted with Jamie Cudmore, who plays for Clermont Auvergne.
In January, Cudmore was given a 40-day ban for punching Perpignan's Gregory Le Corvec.
A year earlier, he was banned for 10 weeks for stamping on Saracens flanker Jacques Burger in a Heineken Cup match, and in 2008 he was banned for five weeks for punching Munster's Paul O'Connell.
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