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Saint-Andre: Pressure is on Wales

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre claims Wales are "big favourites" to land the RBS 6 Nations title and Grand Slam on Saturday.

Saint-Andre's team stand between Wales and their second championship crown and tournament clean sweep of his opposite number Warren Gatland's four-year reign. France blew their title hopes by drawing at home to Ireland and then seeing England secure a 24-22 victory in Paris last weekend.

And Saint-Andre has made five changes for the trip to Cardiff, while prolific try-scoring centre Wesley Fofana has been switched to the wing instead of an injured Vincent Clerc. The coach said: "Wales have been playing super rugby since the World Cup. They are very confident and the big favourites for the Grand Slam."

He added: "I've been very disappointed with our last couple of games.

"We have been in control of possession and territory, but one interception against Ireland and two turnovers against England left us with a draw and a loss. I am unhappy because it's not enough, but there is no pressure on us, the pressure is all on Wales."

Six Nations history suggests that France are unlikely to roll over, given that on six previous visits to Cardiff in the competition they have won five times and lost once. That solitary defeat came in 2008 when a 29-12 Wales victory, secured by tries from Shane Williams and Martyn Williams, gave them the Grand Slam.

"It is more important for Wales to win than France," Saint-Andre added. "The Welsh team are very good, confident and young. We willl go out there simply to try to play our best game of the Six Nations.

"You represent your sport and your team, in Cardiff against a home side that has an opportunity for the Grand Slam and to get revenge for the World Cup semi-final (against France)."

France skipper Thierry Dusautoir said: "We have a new coach and a new system, but Wales have the same team as they had in the World Cup with the same staff.

"We can't win the Six Nations this year, but we want to validate all the work we've done over the last few weeks."


From Belfast Telegraph