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Lievremont wary of Hook threat


Marc Lievremont

Marc Lievremont

Marc Lievremont

France coach Marc Lievremont believes Les Bleus' World Cup semi-final opponents Wales will be a stronger team with James Hook wearing the number 10 shirt.

Hook has been called up for the Eden Park clash after Rhys Priestland was ruled out by a shoulder injury suffered during the quarter-final victory over Ireland in Wellington last weekend. And Lievremont has no doubt the former Ospreys back, who will play for French club Perpignan after the World Cup, could make life difficult.

"It's not great news for us," Lievremont said.

"Priestland is a good player, but James Hook is an experienced player and Wales will undoubtedly be stronger with him.

"He is more of an all-round player, more experienced, and experience at this level is very important when you see the youth in the Wales team."

France's World Cup campaign only kicked into life with a quarter-final win against England six days ago.

They had already lost to New Zealand and Tonga in the pool stage, but Les Bleus lifted themselves when it mattered to reach a fifth successive World Cup semi-final.

"We are running on adrenalin, and I've had to tell myself that I can sleep in 10 days' time," Lievremont added.

"We're happy to have got here. It's like the World Cup has been kick-started for us. Hopefully, we will continue in the same vein and attain our objectives. Of the four semi-finalists, France has lost two games and we will need to be better in defence.

"For a team to get results, you need confidence. We are coming off a good match against England, we've had a good week's training and we seem to all be singing from the same hymn sheet."

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