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Ellis warns Wales

Dave Ellis has warned Wales that France intend to step up a gear and provide them with their biggest test of the World Cup in Saturday's semi-final at Eden Park.

Englishman Ellis, Les Bleus' defence coach, believes Wales deserve all the plaudits they have received following an outstanding tournament so far. But he also feels they have yet to be properly tested during a campaign when Wales beat Ireland and Samoa after losing by one point against South Africa.

"Ireland do not score a lot of tries, South Africa do not score a lot of tries. They (Wales) have played teams who kick and are defence-orientated, so logically they have not been tested much. But we will test them, without doubt," said Ellis.

France, despite losing to New Zealand and Tonga during a tournament that has seen regular reports surface of rifts between players and coach Marc Lievremont, have reached their fifth successive World Cup semi-final.

Things started to improve in a quarter-final victory over England four days ago, and Ellis claims everything is moving in the right direction.

"France under-performed in the first four games. Since then, they have taken responsibility to make sure they perform right," he added.

"People talk about how much progress the Welsh have made, but I think the French have a hell of a lot more progress to make from how we played in the first four games to how we played against England, and we intend to step up another few steps this coming weekend.

"I think Damien Traille and Imanol Harinordoquy mentioned that they didn't appreciate things coming out in the press about the performances.

"The thing is, Marc says it to the players, he says it to the press quite honestly. I played the game for many years and I didn't like being told that I had had a bad game, either. Everything has been taken from that and blown out of proportion. It's good now - it always has been.

"Obviously, when you beat England, which is something the French always like to do anyway, and you make the semi-finals of a World Cup, then things are getting better all the time."


From Belfast Telegraph