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Johnson has French lesson

Martin Johnson has warned England must be as mentally sharp as they are physically tough if the 2003 World Cup winners are to combat the unpredictable French in tomorrow's quarter-final.

Johnson knows from experience that France can veer from being a rabble to world-beaters in the space of a week, sometimes in the space of the same match.

Johnson recalls how France reacted to no-win situations at both the 1999 and 2007 World Cups with stunning victories over New Zealand.

"We know France can underperform but we also know they can produce games that are almost unstoppable, as we have seen at World Cups," he said.

"Anything can happen and we have to deal with it mentally. If you don't deal with it mentally you can't deal with it physically."



End the English hex -- Betsen

Serge Betsen is confident that despite all their flaws, this year's French team can achieve something he never could at the Rugby World Cup.

The retired flanker was on the losing side against England in the 2003 and 2007 World Cup semi-finals and said tomorrow's quarter-final "is a dream chance" for the French, who have "the opportunity to win this match and, above all, to stop this series of World Cup defeats to England".

"It's a match that I hope will be full of commitment and go France's way," Betsen said.

"It's always easier working when you're winning. I hope the players want to stay a bit longer on New Zealand soil."



Muliaina hails his 100th Test

New Zealand full-back Mils Muliaina is focused on the task in hand when he wins his 100th Test cap in Sunday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final with Argentina.

The 31-year-old retained his place in a side showing six changes in personnel from the final pool stage win over Canada.

Muliaina said: "It's a pretty special achievement. I'm privileged to be able to do that. It's going to be a proud moment.

"When I haven't been out there, the realisation of how special it is to be out there has sunk in a little bit more."