Sport Rugby

Tuesday 12 December 2017

We fear All Blacks but have the hunger to win, says French coach

Philippe Saint-Andre is looking for a big performance from his team
Philippe Saint-Andre is looking for a big performance from his team

FRANCE coach Philippe Saint-Andre will find himself under the spotlight when Les Bleus host world champions New Zealand in Paris tomorrow night.

Saint-Andre's men go into the game on the back of just one victory this year - they beat Scotland eight months ago - and fresh from losing three successive Tests on tour in New Zealand.

After finishing bottom of the Six Nations for the first time since 1999, France will tackle the All Blacks as rank outsiders.

"You must have a huge desire to win the game, coming with determination," Saint-Andre told

"There is a huge desire among the players, but also a fear, which must be positive . We respect New Zealand rugby, but we want to show that French rugby exists.

"For a century, the matches against New Zealand have always been of huge intensity and of high quality."

In contrast to France, the All Blacks are unbeaten this year and building ominously towards next week's revenge mission against England at Twickenham after they lost there 12 months ago.

Fresh from winning the Rugby Championship for a second successive season - they beat South Africa 38-27 in a gripping title decider - the All Blacks will start as red-hot favourites in Paris.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has left nothing to chance with his team selection, parading revered big-guns like Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, who wins his 99th cap, Kieran Read and Ma'a Nonu, while centre Ben Smith continues instead of Conrad Smith, who has been rested from the tour.

Saint-Andre, meanwhile, will be looking for his pack to at least match New Zealand's eight and give half-backs Morgan Parra and Remi Tales an attacking platform, but the bookmakers' prediction of a comfortable New Zealand win is hard to dispute.

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