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Thierry Dusautoir rejects stories of unrest within France camp ahead of NZ clash

Published 16/10/2015

Thierry Dusautoir insisted Les Bleus were united ahead of their World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand
Thierry Dusautoir insisted Les Bleus were united ahead of their World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand

France captain Thierry Dusautoir has dismissed claims of a rebellion against coach Philippe Saint-Andre on the eve of their World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand.

The L'Obs Sport newspaper reported on Thursday that a "discreet" rebellion had taken place against Saint-Andre and that there was "bedlam" in the squad ahead of Saturday's showdown with the All Blacks in Cardiff.

It was even suggested that some players were responsible for team selection and Dusautoir had taken over the coaching reins this week.

But the 33-year-old back-rower rejected stories of French unrest at a a pre-match press conference in Newport.

"I don't understand what everyone is talking about," Dusautoir said.

"We prepare for this game as a team and all the boys, coaches and manager are working together."

There was unrest in the France camp during the 2011 World Cup when players expressed their unhappiness with then coach Marc Lievremont following a shock group stage defeat to Tonga.

But France recovered to make the final and Dusautoir said Les Bleus were ready to face champions and World Cup favourites New Zealand four years on.

"We are are going to continue to work together," Dusautoir said. "It's a team ready to play New Zealand."

Dusautoir was part of the France side which stunned New Zealand to beat them 20-18 in a 2007 World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff.

Four years later, he scored a try as France lost 8-7 to New Zealand in the Auckland final - but he says he is not bothered about the past.

"2007 was special because we won against the All Blacks and not many teams have done that. I think French people really liked this moment," Dusautoir said.

"We had a great moment eight years ago, another one four years ago in reaching the final.

"Maybe, I'm going to a have third special memory to think about.

"But If we lose the game against New Zealand we are out of the tournament, and what we are going to do tomorrow is the most important.

"Building a future is more important than what has happened in the past.

"We are thinking of moving onto the next stage, but you know when you are playing New Zealand you are against one of the best teams in the world.

"It is always a big challenge to play New Zealand but we have prepared ourselves for it."

The Millennium Stadium quarter-final will mark the last time that two back-row greats of the game, Dusautoir and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, will lock horns after so many tremendous battles over the years.

"McCaw is a good player - everybody knows it," Dusautoir said. "He's the best player of his generation and what he did for All Blacks is incredible.

"It is always special to play against him. It is the last opportunity and I am going to enjoy it.

"It's also really special to play against New Zealand. We have a special history together and we are going to write a new chapter (on Saturday)."

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