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Poitrenaud sounds cautious note for France


Clement Poitrenaud Photo: Getty Images

Clement Poitrenaud Photo: Getty Images

Clement Poitrenaud Photo: Getty Images

France full-back Clement Poitrenaud has warned Ireland that they should not expect Les Bleus to continue their free-flowing approach in Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash at the Aviva Stadium.

The two most recent Grand Slam winners go into the game on the back of contrasting performances in their opening fixtures.

Ireland laboured to a 13-11 victory over Italy in Rome, needing a late Ronan O'Gara drop goal to deny the Azzurri a famous win, while France produced the flair and élan that their play is so admired for as they ran in four tries in a 34-21 win over Scotland in Paris.

France were unrecognisable from the side that had been hammered 59-16 by Australia in the autumn, indeed on that sort of form they can be almost unstoppable.

Toulouse man Poitrenaud has been recalled to the starting line-up as an injury to Maxime Mermoz has seen Damien Traille moved into midfield and, while he is known for his silky attacking skills, he insists that France will be looking to play a more balanced game.

"People should not count on me to run every ball that comes to me," he said.

"I have developed other facets to returning the ball other than running with it, which was perhaps my one quality when I began rugby.

"If I need to use my kicking game, I will employ it.

"The Irish know us, as they play against us regularly in the Heineken Cup.

"They know very well that we are above all fond of running the ball out of defence and they will be on their guard.

"It is imperative that we don't focus solely on running it and to realise that we will have to kick the ball as well."

France produced a stunning display against the Irish in Paris last season, claiming a 33-10 success on their way to a clean sweep.

And with Ireland having struggled in Rome the visitors will start favourites, but Poitrenaud insists he and his team-mates are expecting a tough contest.

He said: "I don't think we should pay too much attention to that match.

"They really didn't play at their usual level, and they were missing several key players.

"We cannot fall into the trap of thinking that they are weaker, out of form or disorganised because we will face another Irish side on Sunday.

"We should pay more attention to their performances back in November, notably against the All Blacks where even if they did lose, they put up a good show."

PA Media