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Foden wary of wounded France

Ben Foden has warned England will be heading into the "danger zone" against France in Saturday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

France appear to be in a state of disarray following last weekend's defeat to Tonga, with coach Marc Lievremont openly criticising his players and vice versa. But Foden believes that internal conflict will only serve to make Les Bleus more dangerous - and England must be ready to meet that ferocity head on or they will be on the first flight home.

He said: "It's the massive danger zone. France are going to be like a wounded animal. People expect them not to perform that well but that is when they are at their most dangerous. They've got players who are capable of causing carnage out there. They are a great team who can turn it on."

Foden added: "It's important we take it to them, really start the game with a bang and score some points in the first 20 minutes and let them know they are in a tough battle.

"It's got to be our mentality to take the game to them - people think they are in a fragile state but if we give them early points and a lifeline they'll definitely take it.

"If we are going to believe we are going to go on and win a World Cup we really need to step up a level. We've got a massive game and we go home if we don't get the right result. If you want to beat the big guns you really have to perform."

Their 10-try duck-shoot against Romania aside, England have failed to do that on a consistent basis so far this World Cup. Their good work has so often been undermined by poor discipline.

England were forced to come from behind against both Argentina and Scotland but eventually found a way to win both games, with late tries from Ben Youngs and Chris Ashton respectively.

They boast the best defensive record in the competition, having conceded only one try in four group-stage victories, and Foden believes those experiences will stand England in good stead in the knockout stages.

Foden said: "People will look at it and say 'they need the wake-up call' but it shows good character that we can win those games. Only a few teams have been tested that way in this tournament. That's what knockout rugby is all about."


From Belfast Telegraph