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Weepu keeping clear head

New Zealand scrum-half Piri Weepu has no doubt relaxation will be crucial in the build-up to Sunday's World Cup final against France.

The All Blacks are bidding for their first world title since 1987 - when they beat Les Bleus at Eden Park - and the New Zealand nation expects them to deliver in style. Weepu and company defeated France 37-17 in the tournament's pool phase, and they are the competition's only unbeaten team, which merely confirms their tag as red-hot favourites.

"You try to get your preparation right through the week, so when you come to match day you can go out there with a clear head and just play your game," Weepu said. "I think with occasions like this one, the more relaxed you stay, the less pressure you put on yourselves."

He continued: "I am pretty sure the boys get excited by moments like this. As a little kid in the backyard you dream of playing for your country and scoring the winning try or taking the winning kick. Moments like these are moments you don't want to forget.

"Everyone can't wait to wake up on game day and feel the buzz that is in the air and excitement around town. You can feel the energy. You go down to breakfast and look on the faces of the boys and you can see the excitement on their faces."

France, despite their underdog status, hold a strong record against the All Blacks in New Zealand, having beaten them four times since 1979. And Les Bleus can also reflect on two significant World Cup victories over tomorrow's opponents.

They knocked them out in a pulsating semi-final at Twickenham 12 years ago, overcoming a sizeable deficit to triumph 43-31, then won at the quarter-final stage in 2007, claiming a 20-18 verdict in Cardiff.

"You have to expect the unexpected with them," Weepu added.

"On their day they can play the best rugby of their lives, and this is the opportunity for them to do that.

"They can be quite dangerous, so we are definitely not taking them too lightly and we know it is going to be a pretty physical encounter."


From Belfast Telegraph