Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Harinordoquy calls for calm

Imanol Harinordoquy

Imanol Harinordoquy has urged France not to panic when they come up against Wales' all-singing, all-dancing style of rugby in the World Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Les Bleus have reached the tournament's last-four stage for a fifth successive occasion, although their previous semi-final flirtations produced one win and three defeats.

"The Wales players are agile and very skilful. They have good footwork and their forwards are very brave as well," he said. "We can analyse their games from video, but once the game is on the field, that is where the problem starts. We will have to be able to face the challenge. Sometimes we will have to put up with their attacks - we cannot panic."

France knocked out England to arrive in the semi-finals, while Wales accounted for Ireland, which was their fourth successive win after losing a tense World Cup opener to South Africa by one point.

Asked if Wales were a more dangerous team than eliminated England, Harinordoquy added: "On the pitch, yes, because we do not know what they are going to do.

"In the 2007 semi-final (against England in Paris) we relaxed too much and we thought we had won the game before we played it against a team that was not as experienced as we were.

"We have to be of better mind on Saturday. All my life I have wanted to play in a final of the World Cup - it is a dream.

"If we play the same as we did against England, it won't be enough to beat the Welsh. We have to be better in defence."

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