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Francois Trinh-Duc: Win ‘Le Crunch’ and recent woes will be erased

Beating Italy last month was their first since beating Wales in their final fixture of last season’s Six Nations.

Francois Trinh-Duc insists the success of France’s entire NatWest 6 Nations hinges on the outcome of Saturday’s clash with England.

Les Blues endured a torrid 11 months until their 34-17 victory over Italy a fortnight ago, failing to produce a single win and changing coach in the wake of a dismal autumn that saw them draw with Japan and lose to New Zealand and South Africa.

Yet all of that will be washed away if they are able to topple Eddie Jones’ England at the Stade de France, rescuing an otherwise disappointing Six Nations.

“We train hard all year, all season to play in this match. ‘Le Crunch’ is the pinnacle of the Six Nations for us,” Trinh-Duc said.

“I’m very happy, very satisfied. We’re expecting a great match. The English will want to make up for their defeat to Scotland. It will be hard and rough, but we have qualities that we need to show.

“In rugby terms they play better than us, but if we stop them playing, work hard at the break-down, be aggressive in defence like Scotland were, then we can make it difficult for them to impose their gameplan.”

While Jones has masterminded 24 wins from 26 Tests as England head coach, France have registered only eight wins in 24 matches and replaced Guy Noves with Jacques Brunel.

“I hope there’s no fear of being thrashed because that’s not a very positive attitude,” Brunel said.

“But there is a bit of fear of not being at the level we need to be at to compete, which does create a bit of stress ahead of the match.”

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