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Goujon fired up for Italy clash

France debutant Loann Goujon says his team will be "ready for anything" when they take on a confident Italy side in Rome on Sunday.

The Italians come into the RBS 6 Nations fixture at the Stadio Olimpico fired up by their 22-19 success against Scotland at Murrayfield a fortnight ago, while France are seeking a response to two defeats on the bounce.

Goujon, who plays for La Rochelle in the Top 14, will start at number eight for France on Sunday as one of eight changes from the home defeat to Wales.

He told the French rugby federation's official website "Our team seeks lightness in our play and that's what we will try to do. But we will be ready for anything and adapt accordingly.

"This Italy team is a team we know well - it has evolved in recent years. The Italians put a lot of fight into their matches, as we saw against Scotland. But I can tell you we go into this game with a lot of desire and heart."

Italy are chasing their third successive Six Nations home win over Les Bleus but their star man and captain Sergio Parisse - who plays his club rugby in France with Stade Francais - is keen to keep any sense of over-confidence among his team-mates and supporters in check.

"Sincerely, I would never have the arrogance to say nothing comes in twos but threes," the Italy number eight said in reference to the possibility of a third straight home win over the French.

"The last two times it went well, but before that we have taken some real blows. We will play with the utmost humility.

"For us the goal tomorrow is to play with the same desire, the same heart and the same spirit in which we played in Scotland: the scrums will be tougher, the maul will be harder, they have a great defence."

Asked whether the French game was in crisis, Parisse told Gazzetta dello Sport: "In the Top 14 there are great players, there are controversies, but they remain well above us.

"It will be a great fight. With the rain, the game will be much more closed and less spectacular. We want to keep great intensity and possession of the ball."


From Belfast Telegraph