Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Bonnaire hopes for perfect game

Julien Bonnaire has taken stock of France's World Cup final prospects against New Zealand, and admitted: "We need a perfect game."

France have reached the tournament's showpiece conclusion despite a campaign riddled by reports of rifts between players and coach Marc Lievremont, and pool stage defeats to New Zealand and Tonga.

And flanker Bonnaire said: "We know we are far from being favourites, given our level of the game at the moment. We have a small chance here and we need to take it. We will need a perfect game."

They knocked out a lethargic England team in the quarter-finals, and then struggled to subdue semi-final opponents Wales 9-8, despite Wales playing for more than an hour with 14 men after captain Sam Warburton was sent off.

Les Bleus have also encountered widespread criticism for showing a lack of adventure with their playing style under Lievremont, but by hook or by crook, they are one win away from lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy.

"There is a great deal of desire, and we have worked hard to get to where we are," Bonnaire continued.

"We may not have done things as well defensively, but there is a great deal of solidarity on the team and we have done what we needed to do to reach this level. We need to enjoy the moment.

"They (New Zealand) are all great players, and not just the back-row, it's the team as a whole.

"They are tough in terms of impact and they have solid defence. They have it all, and good for them. They will be everywhere on the pitch.

"We need to put them under pressure - we can't let them take control - but we should not be afraid of winning. We have great qualities ourselves, and we can't give up at all until the last minute."


From Belfast Telegraph