Sunday 11 December 2016

'We will bleed from the shirt against Ireland' - French vow to restore pride

Nick Purewal

Published 12/02/2016 | 19:44

France's Alexandre Flanquart (L) and Jules Plisson (C) celebrate after winning a Six Nations tournament match last week
France's Alexandre Flanquart (L) and Jules Plisson (C) celebrate after winning a Six Nations tournament match last week

France have vowed to restore their famed "spiked helmet" ferocity against Ireland in Paris on Saturday.

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Lock Paul Jedrasiak has shrugged off suggestions the modern-day Les Bleus cannot match the menace of their physical predecessors.

The Clermont second row pledged France will "bleed for the shirt" in RBS 6 Nations action at the Stade de France.

"The spiked helmet is still in our blood," said Jedrasiak, who takes a seat on France's bench on Saturday.

"I hear a lot about the old and the new generation. They say it's not the same now, but that's wrong. We're on the same track.

"We want to give everything, to bleed for the shirt.

"The Irish will not give us gifts. And I will give everything to defend my land."

France have come under fire in recent times for appearing to lose their hard-bitten edge up front.

While new coach Guy Noves wants to revive the golden era of France's carefree counter-attacking spirit, Jedrasiak believes Les Bleus' tight forwards are just as hell-bent on reasserting some engine-room energy.

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Noves, who became Europe's most-decorated club coach with four Heineken Cup titles with Toulouse, must now transfer that know-how into the Test arena.

Ireland are gunning for a six-match unbeaten run against the French this weekend, and Noves is wary of head coach Joe Schmidt's "machine".

France missed 15 tackles in the unconvincing 23-21 victory over Italy last weekend, and Noves accepts any repeat will cost Les Bleus on Saturday.

"We were very far from international level in defence against Italy," said Noves.

"The Irish are the machine that always plays the same way, but with a passion and an incredible will.

"The individual duels will be of great importance.

"If defensively we are as lax as against Italy, we will be in big trouble.

"Like all high-level matches it will be very hard, but we hope it will be hard for them too."

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