'We don't like them' - Lievremont
France coach Marc Lievremont has turned up the heat ahead of this weekend's RBS 6 Nations encounter with England at Twickenham by admitting: "We don't like the English."
Saturday's game will be pivotal in deciding the destiny of the Six Nations crown, with both teams boasting 100% records after two games.
"We don't like them and it's better to say that than be hypocritical," Lievremont said. "We have a bit of trouble with the English. We respect them - well in my case at least I respect them. But you couldn't say we have the slightest thing in common with them."
He added: "We appreciate our Italian cousins with whom we share the same quality of life.
"We appreciate the Celts and their conviviality and then among all these nations we have one huge thing in common. We all don't like the English.
"We beat Ireland yet left Dublin with the encouragement of all the Irish who said 'for pity's sake, beat the English'.
"With the Scots, it's the same thing. It is also what gives you strength against the English, more than just because of rugby."
Lievremont nevertheless regards England as a huge threat, saying that their players appear to be operating at a "different level".
He added: "This insular country, who always drape themselves in the national flag, their hymns, their chants, their traditions. They are people who one regards as a very proud people.
"But we are also very aware, in terms of planning and preparation, that the English are already in 2011 World Cup mode. We can feel that all of the English players are physically on a different level."