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France prop Eddy Ben Arous: Jamie Cudmore a scary opponent

Philippe Saint-Andre hailed him as "a lion" and yet France prop Eddy Ben Arous has still admitted trepidation at taking on Canada enforcer Jamie Cudmore.

Head coach Saint-Andre believes Racing Metro's Ben Arous is fast establishing himself as France's first-choice loosehead prop.

The 25-year-old likes to cut a low profile but accepted that any clash with Clermont's evergreen lock Cudmore comes with its drawbacks.

"When you don't see him coming and he gets you in the ribs, yes, he can be scary," said Ben Arous of 37-year-old hardman Cudmore.

"After that, you don't really feel like getting back in there."

However fiendish France may find Cudmore's unique brand of tight-five play, Les Bleus remain firm favourites for Thursday's Pool D clash in Milton Keynes.

Saint-Andre revealed his huge faith in Ben Arous despite his misgivings on facing Cudmore.

"Eddy is rather introverted," said Saint-Andre. "He has a very quiet, yet exceptional voice.

"On the field he's like a lion. We want competitive spirits on the field and he's really one of those.

"He feels good about himself, is very appreciated by the group and has been working very hard.

"He is our starting prop."

Defeat would confirm Canada's inability to progress to the quarter-finals, following losses to Ireland and Italy.

Head coach Kieran Crowley again refused to blame scheduling for his side's shortcomings, but accepted he had had to alter selection due to the punishing timescales.

"We played Italy five days ago and we have another game in another five days, so we are basically playing three games in 10 days and there are some players that have had a big workload," said Canada boss Crowley.

"It was about managing them and putting out the team we consider to have the best chance for us to win this game.

"That's the biggest challenge when you have short turnarounds, the mental side of it.

"You put a lot into it physically but you also put a lot into it mentally.

"When I was involved in Test match rugby it used to take me about a week to come back down before I was ready to go again.

"Everyone is different. Everyone deals with things differently, so you have just got to try and feel the mood a little bit and go from there.

"A coach told me once 'coaching's about having an opinion and then having the ability to change it'.

"I think you have got to be flexible. If you are not flexible and not willing to change things then it could be to the detriment of your programme."


From Belfast Telegraph