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Saint-Andre ready for tough test

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has warned his players not to take Italy for granted as the tournament favourites open their RBS 6 Nations campaign in Paris.

Italy are again expected to struggle while France, beaten finalists in the World Cup in New Zealand, start as the fancied team in the Six Nations. But Saint-Andre is refusing to get carried away by his side's pre-tournament billing and prefers to adopt a cautious approach.

"We shouldn't believe that the match against Italy will be easy," Saint-Andre told reporters. "We will play with a lot of humility and desire. We will try to do anything to start well in this competition."

Saint-Andre has relied on the basis of the squad which took France to the final in Auckland where they were edged 8-7 by New Zealand.

Ten of the line-up at the Stade de France on Sunday took part in the World Cup final, with Saint-Andre bringing in three players who have starred for Clermont Auvergne this season.

With the club second in the Top 14 and having qualified for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup, Wesley Fofana, Julien Malzieu and Vincent Debaty have been added to the players who took part in the World Cup.

For Fofana it will be a Test debut as he comes in at centre in place of Perpignan's Maxime Mermoz.


From Belfast Telegraph