Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Saint-Andre: England is the big game

Philippe Saint-Andre insists France are treating Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with England at Twickenham as their "Grand Slam" match.

Awful defeats to Italy and Wales have left the pre-tournament favourites in disarray with Saint-Andre himself under attack over selection and tactics. Unbeaten England, however, are riding the crest of a wave as they seek to take another step towards a first championship clean sweep since 2003.

Saint-Andre accepts France are expected to be demolished, but he insists they will attack Stuart Lancaster's side. And he said: "England can be our Grand Slam. They're in a state of euphoria. Everybody sees them winning the Grand Slam, everybody sees us taking the wooden spoon. We will need to bring enthusiasm and confidence into the game."

He added: "We will not beat England by doing nothing. Going to Twickenham is a fantastic challenge. I want to be proud of a team who will go there to give 120 per cent of what they have."

France name their team on Thursday with the key talking point being Frederic Michalak's ongoing presence at fly-half.

The Toulouse veteran has been at his flaky best during the Six Nations, but is desperate to be involved on Saturday.

"We are going to play against one of the best teams in the world," Michalak said. "We're going to play with our heart and defend our colours. I hope it will go our way. It would be the icing on the cake.

"It's always special to play against England. We will try to dig and find something we have not found yet.

"France against England at Twickenham - it's the ideal place against the ideal rival.

"You can't dream of a better stage - 80,000 supporters with all the folklore that goes with it. I can't wait."


From Belfast Telegraph