Sunday 17 December 2017

Saint-Andre warns French not to take Italy for granted

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has warned his players not to take Italy for granted as the tournament favourites open their Six Nations campaign in Paris.

Italy are again expected to struggle while France, beaten finalists in the World Cup in New Zealand, start as the fancied team in the Six Nations. But Saint-Andre refuses to get carried away by his side's pre-tournament billing and prefers to adopt a cautious approach, reflecting on his side's 22-21 Six Nations defeat in Rome last season, a first defeat to Italy in the tournament for Les Blues.

"We shouldn't believe that the match against Italy will be easy," Saint-Andre said. "We will play with a lot of humility and desire. We will try to do anything to start well in this competition."

Saint-Andre has relied on the basis of the squad which took France to the final in Wellington where they were edged 8-7 by New Zealand. Ten of the line-up at the Stade de France tomorrow took part in the World Cup final, with Saint-Andre bringing in three players who have starred for Clermont Auvergne this season, Wesley Fofana, Julien Malzieu and Vincent Debaty.

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