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Sunday 17 December 2017

Bastareaud targets Grand Slam finish for Les Bleus

France centre Mathieu Bastareaud is focused on helping France capture the Grand Slam -- even if they are already Six Nations champions by the time they kick off against England.

Marc Lievremont's men have exceeded expectations this year and are widely expected to complete a clean sweep by beating England at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Les Bleus also have the added motivation of wanting to avenge last year's hefty 34-10 defeat, while England will want to end on a high note after a disappointing tournament.

The French could already be champions by the time they take to the pitch on Saturday night, with Ireland's match against Scotland taking place nearly three hours earlier, but Bastareaud admits they are driven by the thought of the Grand Slam.

"We're thinking about it, it's an added source of motivation," said the Stade Francais centre. "But it's not going to be easy. We know them, the English, I have three with me in my club.

"We're expecting a great match. They are not so different from us. They are a bit more hard working, more rigid, more forthright but they are good lads."

Meanwhile, Mike Tindall is determined to spoil France's Grand Slam party in Paris.

The Gloucester centre has been recalled to the England side just three weeks into his comeback from a hamstring injury.

Tindall has been drafted in to provide a physical edge to England's midfield, meaning Mathew Tait drops to the bench.

"We have a chance to really annoy the French, spoil their party and silence (the) Stade de France," said Tindall. "That is one of the reasons I play rugby. It is going to be physical, it is going to be fast and it is going to be hard."

With Tindall and Toby Flood starting either side of Riki Flutey, England have reunited the trio that helped tear France to shreds last year, and Tindall has called for a repeat performance.

"We've just to go out there and do what we did last year. We didn't really worry about France. We got our own game right," added Tindall.

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